Letter by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on a European vaccination certificate

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis proposed the establishment of a common European certificate for people vaccinated against Covid-19, in a letter sent to the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, as well as the heads of state and government of the European Union.

The Prime Minister points out that coordination at the EU level will facilitate transport and therefore a gradual return to normality, while simultaneously providing an additional incentive for the vaccination of European citizens.

Attached to the letter is a draft certificate prepared by the competent Greek authorities, in order to facilitate the freedom of movement of citizens who have been vaccinated. This certificate will cover embarkation on all means of transport: air, sea and rail.

The full letter:

Athens, 12 January 2021

As you well know, we are entering an exceptionally critical phase in the fight to limit the human and economic cost of the COVID pandemic. The next months will be crucial for ensuring mass vaccination of EU citizens, while rolling back the infection rate and thus setting the basis for a return to a measure of economic and social normality during 2021.

In this regard, ensuring the quickest possible re-establishment of freedom of movement between Member States, but also with third countries is, of necessity, a fundamental priority for us all.

That is why in Greece we have moved quickly to put in place procedures for facilitating the freedom of movement of persons who have been vaccinated against COVID 19. A key step in this regard is to establish a standardized certificate, which will prove that an individual has been successfully vaccinated.

In this regard, I am attaching the draft certificate, which the relevant Greek services have prepared. It will be used upon embarkation on all means of transport: air, sea and rail.

While we are not going to make vaccination compulsory or a prerequisite for travel, persons who have been vaccinated should be free to travel. This will also provide a positive incentive for ensuring that citizens are encouraged to undergo vaccination, which is the only way to ensure a return to normality.

In light of the above, it is urgent to adopt a common understanding on how a vaccination certificate should be structured so as to be accepted in all Member States. This may sound simple but the lengthy experience we have had on developing a common PLF has shown us that there is an urgent need for a high-level EU-wide mobilization to move things forward.

I am looking forward to you giving the necessary impetus in this direction and for the same reason I am copying this letter to all my EU colleagues.

If we rapidly reach a common understanding between Member States on a harmonized vaccination certification form and its uses, we can then push the issue forward in the relevant international fora, thus contributing to the re-establishment of mobility on a global scale, which is the foundation for re-establishing economic activity to pre-crisis levels. For countries such as Greece, which are dependent on tourism, it’s imperative that this issue is resolved before the summer season.

Let me take this opportunity to once again express my best wishes for 2021 and my deep appreciation for all your efforts in fighting the pandemic and supporting Member States during this unprecedented crisis.

This letter is copied to:

– All Heads of State or Government
– European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Ms Stella Kyriakides

Draft of common SARS-Cov-2 vaccination certificate