European Commission President says Americans with vaccine passports can visit once ‘situation is improving’
BRUSSELS, Belgium, April 26, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission (EC), has announced that travellers coming from the United States will need proof of vaccination in order to visit Europe, as von der Leyen continues her push for vaccine passports, despite a recent ruling from the Council of Europe that they are a violation of human rights.
In a Sunday interview with the New York Times, von der Leyen revealed that she envisaged vaccine passports being the key which would unlock travel to Europe for Americans.
“The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved [EMA] vaccines,” she said. “This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union.”
America and Europe are both availing of the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson injections. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been temporarily suspended in the U.S. after it caused fatal blood clots, but a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) panel recently recommended the vaccine be reinstated.
“Because one thing is clear: All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by E.M.A,” she added.
Von der Leyen, president of the EC since December 2019, hailed the swift rollout of the experimental injections in the United States, pointing to this as the underlying cause for her mention of easing the current restrictions on travel.
In her comments to the Times, von der Leyen noted stated that the U.S. was “on track” with regards the aim of injecting 70% of adults by mid-June.
With a customary caveat, she added that even with the use of vaccine passports to limit travel, inter-continental travel would depend “on the epidemiological situation, but the situation is improving in the United States, as it is, hopefully, also improving in the European Union.”
According to the Times, von der Leyen will now be seeking to change European policy on travel by advocating and implementing vaccine passports. However, more intricate details about the scheme, including how it be enforced, or any alternatives to the passports, were not given.
The interview is no surprise, however, as von der Leyen has been openly promoting the globalist-style policy of vaccine passports for some time. So advanced have been her plans, that in early March, she announced via Twitter the plans to introduce legislation which would bring about a “Digital Green Pass” for residents within the European Union (EU) to allow ease of travel. The passports would come into effect from June 15.
Greece had recently introduced its own COVID-19 vaccination certificates, in the hope that the move would facilitate tourism, a sector on which the country’s economy relies heavily. Minister of Digital Governance Kyriakos Pierrakakis said that the vaccine passports will work as a sort of “fast lane inside the airports … to have the opportunity to go to a different lane from those who haven’t been vaccinated,” but that without the E.U. adopting the infrastructure more broadly, the system will be “absurd.”
At the end of January, the U.K. (which is no longer part of the E.U.) announced that it is forging ahead with its own vaccine passport plan, funding the trial of eight passport schemes at a cost of £450,000 in government grants for the project.
Now, in her recent interview to the Times, von der Leyen has encouraged member states to the E.U. to formulate and implement their own policies regarding the use of vaccine passports. The bloc is currently restricting so-called non-essential travel from a number of countries, the U.S. included.
Despite von der Leyen’s continued promotion of the use of vaccine passports, the Council of Europe, which oversees the European Court of Human Rights, ruled recently that forced vaccinations and vaccine passports were a violation of human rights.
The ruling, which came in February, stated that protections must be given to those who do not have the vaccine, so that they do not incur any penalty for not having the injection, to “ensure that no one is discriminated against for not having been vaccinated, due to possible health risks or not wanting to be vaccinated.”
Vaccine passports should not be used for any other purpose apart from recording “vaccine efficacy, potential side-effects and adverse events.”
“Vaccination certificates should not be used as a ‘vaccination passport’ (at borders, in aviation, or for access to services). Such use would be unscientific in the absence of data on the effectiveness of the vaccines in reducing transmission, the length of any acquired immunity, as well as the percentage of ‘failure’ to produce immunity due to new variants, viral load and delayed second doses. Such use would also pose privacy concerns, and, taking into account the limited availability of vaccines, may perpetuate and reinforce exclusionary and discriminatory practices.”
Notwithstanding this, von der Leyen’s interview will no doubt encourage countries in Europe in implementing such restrictions upon visitors from the U.S., as politicians both in the U.K. and Europe continue to ignore the import of this Council of Europe’s ruling. Airlines, too, could go along with the vaccine passports, as a means to ensure the restarting of the industry.
In response to von der Leyen’s interview, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released a statement welcoming her words, calling them “a step in the right direction.”
The IATA called for vaccine passports to enable “unconditional travel for those vaccinated,” but also added that “the freedom to travel should not exclude those who are unable to be vaccinated.” The organization asked for negative COVID-19 tests to be used as an alternative to vaccines in facilitating travel, writing: “Vaccines are not the only way to safely re-open borders. Government risk-models should also include COVID-19 testing.”