German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Thursday that all member states of the European Union have agreed to the development of a coronavirus vaccine passport system that will "reconcile" the different systems being prepared. The member states will, she said, launch a passport system "for the summer" that will make travel within the EU possible.
The European Commission now has three months to determine the technical specifications of this single system. European leaders, Merkel added, trust that it will be operational over the coming months and for the summer. Without specifically referring to tourism, the chancellor said that the initiative will help to restart international movement within the EU and possibly also with "some third countries".
Merkel acknowledged that while technical issues will have to be resolved, political aspects will also need to be addressed. She stressed, for example, that in order for immunised people to be able to travel first, the possibility of being vaccinated must have been offered to everyone. Any other option would not be just.
She also emphasised that it will not be the case that only people with a vaccination passport will be allowed to travel. The system will become a "complementary" option to allow international travel in safe conditions while also controlling the spread of the virus. Merkel noted, in addition, that vaccines have not been authorised for children under the age of 18 in the EU, so travel could not therefore be limited to those who have been vaccinated.