The EU have announced that they are working on a digital pass to facilitate travel throughout the EU this summer and beyond. The European Commission has said it will present a legislative plan later this month for what it’s calling a “digital green pass”. This follows hot on the heels of Spain announcing they were looking at Vaccine Certificates.
To read about the Spanish vaccine certificate plan click here
What is the Digital Pass/Green Pass?
At the moment it is pretty much a theory, but with EU countries such as Spain and Greece so reliant on their tourist industries it is very much a priority. The pass will theoretically be able to show who has been vaccinated, and thus make travel easier. All good so far.
Why are the EU introducing this?
The obvious first reason is so that people can travel, but there are other reasons too. The EU want the app to be a governmental thing, rather than run by private enterprise. As of now a number of tech firms have announced plans for similar applications. The EU want a uniform system controlled by them.
von der Leyen the EU President Tweeted the following
“It will respect data protection, security and privacy. The Digital Green Pass should facilitate Europeans’ lives. The aim is to gradually enable them to move safely in the European Union or abroad — for work or tourism”President of the EU
The Commission will release details of the legislative plan on March 17, per Reuters.
What about Brexit?
Britain it seems are apparently fully on board with the program, even your most ardent Brexiteer wouldn’t complain about this one. It is also very much in the interests of the EU, with Spain particularly courting British tourists due to the fast immunization rate.
The Digital Pass sounds awfully like a Digital Passport
For all intents and purposes this is the holy grail “travel passport” that everyone has been waiting for. Why then you might ask do they not call it such? Well we live in woke times. using the term “travel passport” would be discriminating against those who have not been vaccinated. Ironically that is exactly what the digital pass will do as well, although if you don’t call it a passport people won’t be offended? Who rightly knows.
Will the digital pass be rolled out globally?
This is the big question and honestly no one knows. We briefly touched on this with regards to the Spain article. If the EU adopt this, it will likely also include the EEA, the UK and Switzerland. It would also probably involve those countries reliant on Europeans. such as Turkey and much of North Africa. In this case it could well become the industry standard.
With that being said countries such as the USA, China and Australia would likely do their own thing. In this respects it will not resemble say a measles, or yellow fever vaccination book.
Will the digital pass mean a return to travel normality?
Even if you want to be extremely optimistic about this it will not mean a return to “normal. One might even argue that normal will never exist again. What we will see is the following though. People who have been vaccinated will be able to travel in travel corridors to countries also getting vaccinated. Once you get the vaccine you will be free to travel. For those people in Europe, your first open travel destinations will likely be in the EU.
So, not the end, not the beginning of the end, but perhaps the beginning of the beginning of the end? Things certainly are looking a little more positive for the travel industry, finally.