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EU leaders reject Greece’s proposal for “vaccination certificate”

EU leaders said “No” to the vaccination certificate proposed by Greece and supported by other countries of the European South. Instead, they agreed that non-essential travel would be discouraged after a meeting to discuss the mounting challenge from more infectious virus variants.

After the video conference, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a press conference that the health situation in Europe was “very serious,” with new variants and an increase in infections.

She stressed that countries should not close their borders, to ensure the functioning of the single market, including the flow of goods and travel for cross-border workers.

However, she said the Commission would add a new “dark red” category to its traffic light indications of risk, for regions where the virus was circulating at a very high rate. Today, almost all of Europe is red – with the exception of Greece and Finland.

Map issued on Jan 21, 2021, by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

“Persons travelling from dark red areas could be required to do a test before departure, as well as to undergo quarantine after arrival,” von der Leyen said, adding all non-essential travel should be discouraged from these areas.

Leaders agreed to restrict nonessential travel if necessary — but avoid border closures. EU countries should keep their borders open despite the ongoing fight against the coronavirus, but “restrictions could be considered for nonessential travel,” EUCO President Charles Michel said.

Press Release on the Conclusions of the EUCO Summit

Sanitary situation

  1. Leaders noted the seriousness of the situation especially in the light of the new variants. They are determined to limit the spread of the virus by adopting similar measures among the Member states. In this context, increasing our sequencing capacity is key.
  2. Borders need to stay open to ensure the functioning of the Single market, including the flow of essential goods and services. No indiscriminate travel bans should be imposed.However, measures restricting non-essential travel in the EU may be needed to contain the spread of the virus.

    While upholding its principles, the Council may need to review its recommendations on intra-EU travel and non-essential travels into the EU in light of the risks posed by the new virus variants.

  3. On testing, leaders welcomed the work achieved so far and the agreement on rapid antigen tests and the mutual recognition of test results.


  1. Leaders want vaccination to be accelerated. In this respect, commitments on deliveries made by companies must be respected.  Leaders reaffirmed that vaccines should be distributed at the same time and must be on a pro rata/population basis. Leaders reaffirmed the need to have a close follow-up of the vaccination process.All possible means will be examined to ensure rapid supply, including early distribution to avoid delays.
  2. Leaders agreed to work on a standardised and inter-operable form of proof of vaccination for medical purposes. Leaders will determine at a later stage in what circumstances these certificates could be used.
  3. Leaders reaffirmed their solidarity with third countries. Effective support should be delivered as soon as possible.

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  1. Hello administrator, In the first paragraph you wrote “Instead, they agreed that essential travel would be discouraged”. This should be “non-essential travel”.