Getting the EU’s Covid-19 certificate (also known as the Digital Green Certificate) off the ground as soon as possible in order to facilitate travel and reignite economies is vital, said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during the opening of the 6th Delphi Economic Forum on Monday.
One of the first countries in Europe to open to international travelers this week and relying heavily on tourism, Greece will be among the initial 20 member states to test run the digital travel pass system expected to be fully operational by the end of June.
“Everyone agrees that travel should be allowed to take place as smoothly as possible in the summer. For us, this means no excessive restrictions on the return of travelers to their countries,” said Mitsotakis speaking at the hybrid forum, together with his Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez.
“The aim of the green certificate is to facilitate travel,” said Mitsotakis of the pass slated to go into effect from June 1 in Greece.
Sanchez echoed Mitsotakis noting that it is “important to have an agreement on the green certificate in June to ensure mobility in the EU”, underlining the need to ensure a common position among member states with regard to third countries.
The travel certificate idea was initially tabled by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in January in an attempt to enable safe travel and re-start economies. Welcomed by global tourism and travel stakeholders, the digital green certificate concept was further pushed forward by the European Commission last month.
Speaking during the recent 2021 Porto Social Summit hosted by the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU, European Commision President Ursula von der Leyen said she was “glad to report that work is on track” for the Digital Green Certificate system to be operational in June.
“We want Europeans to enjoy a safe, relaxing summer,” she said.
According to local media reports, the Greek government in efforts to accelerate passport controls at airports and borders points is looking to include Covid-19 certificate information in its mandatory Passenger Locator Form (PFL), which is completed by all incoming travelers before arrival.