Malta’s national carrier, Air Malta, has welcomed the European Commission’s proposal of a Digital Green Certificate, a digital tool to allow EU citizens who have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from COVID-19 to travel more freely within the 27-nation bloc.
The proposal is aimed to facilitate the safe free movement inside the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic and support the restart of travel through the issuance of common, inter-operable and mutually recognised certificates.
As announced last Wednesday, when the European Commission released details, the Digital Green certificate will be available, free of charge, in digital or paper format and will offer proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result, or recovered from the disease.
The certificate will include a QR code to ensure security and authenticity. The Commission pledged to build a gateway to ensure all certificates can be verified across the EU, and support Member States in the technical implementation of certificates.
Under this proposal, Member States will remain responsible to decide which public health restrictions can be waived for travellers but will have to apply such waivers in the same way to travellers holding a Digital Green certificate.
Commenting on this proposal Air Malta’s Chairman, David G. Curmi, said, “Air Malta welcomes the EU Commission’s proposal for the Digital Green certificate. This certificate offers various benefits in that travellers, who have been vaccinated, can be exempt from travel restrictions that might be applicable, and recognises our belief that vaccinations should not be mandatory in order to travel.”
“Europe needs a clear path out of this pandemic which has caused so much hardship to the travel industry especially for States like Malta that depend heavily on tourism. We need common solutions, effective and safe measures for all travellers and international procedures which are fully coordinated and aligned”, added Mr Curmi.
Other industry associations including Airlines for Europe (A4E), ACI EUROPE (Airports Council International), ASD (Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe), CANSO, European Regions Airline Association (ERA), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the trade association of the world’s airlines, also commented positively on this proposal.
They said that these certificates will be a key tool to facilitate a safe and efficient resumption of travel and tourism in Europe.
The associations have called on the EU Council and the European Parliament to urgently approve the Commission proposal, and for all EU States to immediately begin preparations for their implementation.
The associations have urged EU governments to ensure the certificates are operational in time for the peak summer travel months thus enabling the elimination of restrictions to travel whilst recognising that vaccination should not be mandatory to travel.
Proposals for the so-called “Green Pass” have already been welcomed in Malta. At the start of March, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health, Chris Fearne described the proposed scheme as an “added tool to facilitate travel and empower European citizens”.
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