Starting July 1, all European Union member states will accept the EU Digital COVID Certificate, also known as the “green passport,” as proof of vaccination against COVID-19, of a recent negative test, or of recovery from the disease. The plan got a resounding yes at the European Parliament on June 9.
But across the Atlantic, the idea faces strong head winds, whether for travel or domestic use. The Biden administration has ruled out introducing vaccination passports, and some states even ban them.
Why We Wrote This
Coronavirus passes could become the new normal in Europe, even as the U.S. balks at the idea. The difference comes down to circumstances and values – and will shape post-pandemic global mobility.
Prioritizing freedom and fears of government overreach underpin the rejection of vaccine certificates in the U.S., while European societies have grappled more with issues of privacy and fairness. And so as Western countries savor a return to the old, this phase of post-pandemic mobility is being shaped by cultural attitudes and the initial responses to the pandemic.
“Alabama never closed the border to Mississippi in the way Finland closed the border to Sweden,” points out Anders Herlitz, a researcher at Sweden’s Institute for Futures Studies. “Here in the EU, the vaccine passports are seen as a necessary evil to get rid of other, much more extensive, limitations to people’s freedom, whereas in the U.S., they would not help getting rid of other limitations, but only cause new limitations.”
Toronto, Berlin, and Athens
Back in 1992, Yiannis Klouvas converted an old cinema into the Blue Lagoon restaurant, which garnered a strong reputation for live music. There is no music now. The business, like so many others on the Greek island of Rhodes, is struggling due to the pandemic’s restrictions on travel.
“If we see a tourist on the street these days,” he says, “we take a photo to remember them.”
Mr. Klouvas is now banking on the EU Digital COVID Certificate, also known as the “green passport,” to save the summer. Starting July 1, all EU member states will accept the certificates as proof of COVID-19 vaccination, a recent negative test, or recovery from the disease. The plan got a resounding yes at the European Parliament on June 9.