Greece is calling for the European Union to adopt Covid-19 vaccine "passports" in order to open up tourism and allow for summer vacations.
In an interview with the Financial Times, the Minister of Tourism, Harry Theocharis, stressed that the introduction of the vaccination certificate should be a matter of immediate priority for the European Union.
"Looking at the reaction of some countries to the proposals of the Greek government regarding the vaccination certificate, there is a feeling of short-sightedness," he said. "And while there is much to be done to prepare for the opening up of tourism and the economy, nevertheless, many countries are focusing too much on the current situation. But we have to move much faster,” he said.
Theocharis said the EU needs to speed up decision making on protocols for the safe movement of European citizens from country to country.
“The European Union must adopt the vaccination certificate without delay. People need to know as soon as possible if they will be able to go on a summer vacation this year,” he urged.
Regarding the British government's ban on non-essential international travel, Theocharis said: "I do not understand such warnings, given the progress that is being made in the UK with the vaccination rollout. I cannot understand why we are now taking steps backwards, even though we now have more and more effective tools in our 'arsenal' compared to last year -- and I mean vaccines and 'rapid tests'."
Currently, a digital certificate is issued to those Greek citizens who are vaccinated, but is not mandatory to travel to Greece. "Our goal is simply to relieve those who have acquired immunity from being re-tested for Covid-19 upon entering Greece," he said.