In this never-ending pandemic, the numbers are falling, coldly, day after day. While France has just passed the 100,000 marks in deaths from Covid-19 and that for Europe, this figure now reaches 650,000 deaths, I have a special thought for the bereaved families, for all those who have lost a loved one to the Coronavirus and whose mourning is made particularly difficult by the circumstances.
All over Europe, our hospitals are under stress and our caregivers continue to fight a hard battle against the virus. In this context, in the spring of 2021, we all need good news.
And the light is finally there, close at hand, at the end of the tunnel. In the face of a pandemic of unprecedented scale and violence, vaccination is our salvation, our way back to an almost normal life.
After delays in starting up, vaccination campaigns are finally progressing, more and more rapidly, and it is now realistic to think that we will keep the promise made to citizens to vaccinate 70% of the European population by the summer.
Vaccination is not only the solution to the health crisis. It is also, for entire sectors of our economies, and in particular for the catering and tourism sectors, a question of economic survival – on one condition: that Europeans have the possibility of circulating again, in complete safety and with the least possible restrictions in Europe.
This is why, as early as January, I called on the Member States to consider the modalities of a European vaccination certificate. I regret that the leaders of the 27 Member States have waited more than two months before addressing this issue, but I am pleased that things are finally moving forward: negotiations between the European Parliament and the representatives of the Member States on the proposal for a “digital green certificate”, which was put on the table by the European Commission in March, will be able to begin very soon.
This digital green certificate, which will cover not only vaccination certificates but also the results of screening tests and attestations for people who have recovered from COVID-19, will not be mandatory for travel. It will not discriminate between citizens. The personal data of citizens will be protected, they will not be centralized at the European level or kept by the Member State carrying out the verification.
With this certificate, our only objective is to simplify people’s lives. To allow them to travel again, as soon as the health conditions allow it.
This certificate, once implemented, will be an example of what Europe can do to improve people’s lives. We at the EPP will do everything we can to ensure that this certificate is implemented before the summer. My column in l’Opinion