Mon, 08 Mar 2021

Geneva [Switzerland], January 20 (ANI): The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged all branches of the European Union to support an initiative from Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to agree on a common digital European Covid-19 vaccination certificate that will enable those who are vaccinated to travel freely within Europe without further testing.

In an open letter to Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and copied to key policy-makers across the EU, IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac called on EU states to coordinate a policy that will see Europe safely gain the economic and social benefits of renewed freedom of movement, beginning with those who are vaccinated.

"Prime Minister Mitsotakis' initiative should be urgently adopted by the commission and all member states. Vaccination is a fundamental key to safely reopening borders and stimulating economic recovery," said de Juniac.

"A pan-European mutually recognised vaccination certificate will be an important step towards giving governments the confidence to safely open their borders, and passengers the confidence to fly without the barrier of quarantine," he said.

The Greek proposal is for a harmonised vaccination certificate that could contribute to the re-establishment of mobility on a global scale, which is the foundation for re-establishing economic activity to pre-crisis levels. The requirement for a harmonised safe aviation restart is more urgent than ever in the face of renewed lockdowns and travel restrictions across the world.

As the virus comes eventually under control, testing capacities improve and the vaccinated population grows, de Juniac stressed the need for governments to prepare for re-establishing the freedom of movement with well-coordinated planning. That planning should use the most effective combination of vaccination and testing capabilities.

"We are in very dark days of this pandemic. But the tough measures taken combined with accelerating vaccination programs must give us hope that we can safely re-establish the freedom of movement. That will save jobs, ease mental anguish, re-connect families and revive the economy," he said.

"To do this safely and efficiently, planning is key. Prime Minister Mitsotakis's proposal for vaccine certificates will be a key enabler. Progress on eliminating or reducing quarantines can be made with testing protocols. But what we need now is for governments to start working together much more effectively. Unilateral government actions were able to quickly dismantle global connectivity. Re-building will need coordination." (ANI)

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