German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that the leaders of the European Union have agreed on the need to introduce a certificate of coronavirus vaccination, noting that the bloc will need three months to prepare.
"Everyone agreed that we need a digital vaccination certificate," Merkel said during the press conference after the virtual EU summit.
According to the chancellor, such certificates will at first be developed by each member country, with the European Commission later making them "compatible" so that they can be used in any European Union country.
This, along with additional information on citizens, will make travelling within the bloc possible and could also allow for nationals of other countries to arrive to the EU, Merkel noted. In Germany, the decision has already been made to issue the certificates.
Charles Michel, the head of the European Council, stated that the current bloc's priority is speeding up production and delivery of the vaccines around the EU.
"Our #1 priority is speeding up the production & delivery of #COVID19 vaccines and vaccinations across the EU", he tweeted. "This includes working with industry to scale up production. And we want more predictability & transparency from pharmaceutical companies."
Our #1 priority is speeding up the production & delivery of #COVID19 vaccines and vaccinations across the EU.— Charles Michel (@eucopresident) February 25, 2021
This includes working with industry to scale up production.
And we want more predictability & transparency from pharmaceutical companies.
EU leaders agreed that vaccine production capacity must be increased, noting that the bloc needs to prepare for a scenario in which continuous vaccinations will be carried out over the coming years due to emerging novel virus variants.
While the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage across much the world, including in the EU, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said that 50 million vaccine doses have been delivered in the bloc, and "work is ongoing to tackle new variants."
"The measures in place across Europe are working", she asserted. "Our efforts will pay off."
The idea of digital certificates for the coronavirus vaccination was implemented in Greece in January, with the country's prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, asserting that it would help facilitate travel within the bloc. Mitsotakis voiced support for the initiative to be introduced across the EU.