Ciarán McCollum

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The EU’s Vaccine Passport Scheme Could Destroy Peace in Northern Ireland

by Ciarán McCollum An instrument of unusual significance is quietly on its way to becoming law in Europe: the Proposal for a Digital Green Certificate. Up for Plenary vote today, it erects a “universal framework” for the control of disease within the Schengen Area. The Commission has presented it as a return to freedom of movement, essentially suspended by Member States since the World Health Organisation declared a pandemic. However the DGC, which creates certificates for Europeans showing the bearer has been vaccinated, tested or achieved immunity, is already beginning to lose its green sheen. Last week, the WHO asked that any plans for making proof of vaccination a condition of entry be abandoned, after the USA ruled out enforcing vaccination cards on its territory. So is it wise for Europe to continue with its own? Freedom of movement is perhaps the European Union’s most cherished achievement, certainly among northerners seeking a visa-free sun holiday. In my home of Northern Ireland, with our ever-fragile cross-border peace agreement, we have a special appreciation for the importance of keeping borders open. The recent EU threat to impose a “vaccine border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic imperilled that peace. The Union can’t afford another blunder on borders, so it’s in its own interest that the DGC does what it says on the...

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June 2024
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