Digital Green Certificates

Update on EU’s Vaccine Passport Scheme

We have an update today on yesterday’s vote in the European Parliament, which essentially waved through the Commission’s plans to roll out a vaccine passport scheme across the EU, which we covered yesterday. This is a guest post from a source within the EU.

In Brussels yesterday the European Parliament adopted a negotiating position on the Commission’s Digital Green Certificate proposal. 575 MEPs voted for a compromise text, with 80 against and 40 abstentions.

Voting took place remotely after three hours of speeches to a mostly empty chamber.

The Commission’s desire to create a universal system of health check points within the EU was apparent before the Plenary Session. During the debate it became increasingly clear that these checks will be taking place beyond Member State borders.

MEPs were resigned to passing the Regulation in order to “return to normal” even if it “puts Schengen at stake”.

Voter concerns that European society would be divided were occasionally relayed, usually as a prefix to a bald statement that the DGC would neither discriminate nor function as a pass for entry into Member States.

A handful of MEPs asked to examine the Proposal more critically.

With Parliament’s approval – and the three EU Institutions already in alignment – negotiations between Commission, Council and Parliament on the final text will be a mere formality.

We can expect the rubberstamp by June, ushering in a sophisticated and probably enduring system of health checks across Europe, enhanced by the draconian Passenger Locator Form, also on its way to becoming law.

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

Today, the European Parliament will vote on the introduction of vaccine passports within the EU, known as Digital Green Certificates. Ciarán McCollum, a barrister and linguist from Northern Ireland who advises on matters of European law, has written a piece for Lockdown Sceptics expressing his concern that this scheme will destroy the fragile peace in Northern Ireland. Here’s an extract:

The proposed regulation will cost Europe dearly. There are the financial implications of a universal border control regime which involves the constant handling of that most sensitive of data types: medical records. There is the loss of ideals intrinsic to European democracy. But more pertinently for me, there is the situation in Northern Ireland.

The Explanatory Memorandum calls freedom of movement one of the EU’s “most cherished achievements” and a “driver of its economy”. It is also a driver of peace in my home. The Northern Irish remain citizens of Europe without the Union, and will not accept being checked upon entry into what about a million of them consider their home: the neighbouring Member State of Ireland. The prospect of violence is terrible.

Despite these risks and contrary to the recently introduced Better Regulation Rules, the DGC controls are being rushed through with nary a cost-benefit analysis, impact assessment or public consultation and with limited parliamentary debate. Why? Well, in the words of the Head of the Commision’s Covid Taskforce, Thierry Breton, when speaking to RTL in March, so that Europeans can once again “enter a public place” and “live without being a risk to each other”. Could Mr Breton really mean to suggest that there ever was, or ever can be, life without risk? Has the Parisian gentleman, when crossing his home city by car for example, ever encountered the 4-lane 12-exit roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe?

Worth reading in full.