EU to introduce digital vaccine passports on June 15
March 30, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — European commissioner and businessman Thierry Breton presented France with the European Union’s brand-new “Digital Green Certificate” — or “sanitary certificate,” as he called it — during the national radio show “Grand Jury RTL-Le Figaro-LCI,” on Sunday morning. The digital pass has been approved by the 27 EU member states, he said (although no trace of formal voting or approval is currently available on EU websites), and will be released on June 15.
In his capacity as EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton is also in charge of the super-state’s vaccine policy and the reopening of travel in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
During the show, Breton said that Europe will have “collective immunity capacity” by July 14, a remarkable prediction given that the vaccine “roll-out” — whatever one’s opinion on the moral acceptability, efficacy, and dangers of the various EU-approved vaccines — is faced with so many obstacles that many member countries cannot seriously hope that all people wanting the jab will have received it by then. Besides, the general message being broadcast by health officials is that vaccination does not necessarily prevent contagion, that it already doesn’t work against some variants of SARS-CoV-2, and that some can take up to two months or longer before offering full protection, according to their own disclosures.
Breton said the vaccination campaign needed to be stepped up and that vaccine imports would be accelerated in the 27 member states to reach 420 doses administrated in three and a half months.
“From the moment when we can be sure that every European who wants to get the jab has equitable access to the vaccine, as will be the case within two or three months, it will be good to have a sanitary certificate that demonstrates your condition,” said Breton.
Either in digital form for smartphones, or printed out, the passport will include a scannable QR code including the bearer’s name, date of birth, and passport number, as well as the date of vaccination, the vaccine’s type (only EU-approved vaccines will be allowed), status regarding a former infection with COVID-19, and the presence or absence of antibodies.
People who have not received the vaccine and who have not had COVID-19 will have their PCR test status on their certificate, said Breton. “If you don’t want a test, you won’t get one,” he added.
The paper draft of the certificate, titled “Proof of vaccination for medical purposes,” includes a line listing “Adm. gender,” and gives a wink to Tolkien by filling in the “country” line with the words “Middle Earth.”
La première version du certificat sanitaire qui va être mis en place dès cet été présenté en exclusivité par .@ThierryBreton .@RTLFrance #legrandjury : il existera évidemment en français pic.twitter.com/KJYIbwDoxO— Mangin Catherine (@catherinemangin) March 28, 2021
The “medical purposes” quoted on the document are in fact anything but medical. Breton made clear that it would be used to board an aircraft or to cross an internal border within the European Union, but “possibly” also to join “major events” or to enter a “public location.” The EU vaccine certificate could also be supplemented with national certificates allowing entry to restaurants and other places open to the public.
The European Commissioner was quick to state that the document will not be compulsory.
A recent survey by France’s official “Economic, social and environmental Council” (CESE), a constitutional advisory board for the executive and legislative powers, has shown that almost 75 percent of more than 110,000 respondents are opposed to a vaccine certificate — 67 percent even said they are “strongly opposed.” So it is not surprising that Breton should have made this clear from the start of his radio interview.
But the alternative is ongoing control and restrictions. In the absence of a sanitary passport, according to Breton, citizens will be required to submit to existing restrictions: He recalled that most European countries ask for a recent negative COVID-19 test, while some impose a 10-day quarantine to all people arriving within their borders. If “collective immunity” has been attained in Europe, as the commissioner promised it would by July 14, what would be the use not only of such restrictions, but also of the passport?
Breton responded to the objection that the vaccine certificate will set up a “mandatory vaccine in disguise” by saying, “Those who do not want to get a certificate will be able to continue to benefit from the openings that will be offered. If they are required to have a sanitary status to enter, they will have the opportunity to submit to faster tests.”
He added that a European Commission document regarding the vaccine certificate does state that people who do not have such a document “are more likely to be subject to measures such as quarantine by member states, if that is justified by public health considerations.”
Breton added that testing would be ramped up as member states develop their “screening capacity,” meaning that the “case” narrative will continue to be used, even though most member states have had low death counts since December.
The certificate will allow to have “a tourist season comparable to last year’s,” he explained. Last summer, intercontinental travel was virtually non-existent, but most EU countries imposed no particular tests and the coronavirus that was in circulation caused only mild symptoms and next to no fatalities. A certificate would have been useless.
Questions are already being raised about the data that will be included in the EU certificate, and its impact on privacy. The mainstream media Le Monde informatique (of the center-left Le Monde group) quoted the negative survey of the CESE and recalled that previous “stop COVID” apps set up by the French government already had serious privacy issues.
The European Committee for Data Protection is expected to publish its view of the “Digital Green Pass” by Tuesday, while the comparable French official body, CNIL, will also assess the document in the coming days. Some data, such as social security numbers or telephone numbers, are not expected to be included in the certificates, but a private association for the protection of personal data, AFCDP, has warned that the presence of medical information requires impact studies that have not taken place. Patrick Blum, its president, said that “emergency” considerations have probably led the authorities to skip this stage.
Nor is it clear how and for how long vaccination data relative to individuals will be stored.
The European Parliament has already stepped back from protecting individual rights by speeding up approval procedures for the Digital Green Certificate. On March 25, MEPs “supported activating the emergency procedure (Rule 163), which would allow faster parliamentary observation and examination of the Commission’s proposal while respecting its democratic privileges, with 468 votes in favour, 203 votes against, and 16 abstentions,” according to SchengenVisaInfo, an independent news site about travel within the Schengen area, where freedom of movement has long been the rule.
Only some MEPs warned against “discrimination” that non-vaccinated citizens can face when a vaccine certificate becomes effective. The chairman of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee, Juan Fernandez López Aguilar, while favoring the certificate, stated: “The certificate cannot be a precondition for free movement as this is a fundamental right in the European Union, and it cannot lead to discrimination against those individuals who do not hold one. Citizens’ data must be safe, and only necessary data should be included in the certificate.”
Despite these caveats, the European Parliament has bowed down to the European Commission’s request for the fast-tracking of two draft European regulations on the sanitary certificate, agreeing to short-circuit habitual discussion of such texts by its environment commission and to submit them directly to the next Plenary Assembly, without leaving room for any kind of amendment.
The French daily FranceSoir, together with a group of lawyers, had called on its readers to contact their MEPs, asking them not to cave to the European Commission, and to examine and amend the draft regulations wherever violations of citizens’ liberties would appear to be “excessive.”
In their letter to the members of the European Parliament, the group warned:
“This proposed “digital green certificate,” even if it is cleverly presented as a means of exercising our freedom of movement, represents an unprecedented interference with our fundamental freedoms, because it indirectly leads to imposing on the vast majority of Europeans, who are healthy and not likely to die from COVID-19, either a vaccine — of which no one knows “whether it prevents asymptomatic infection and transmission of the virus,” or even if it protects against the disease in the long term, as it is stated in the introductory considerations of the draft Regulation — or innumerable screening tests, if it is true that this certificate will have to be presented on many occasions in our lives in the community (transport, cultural and educational venues, restaurants, shopping centers, etc.).
“We also learn from the draft regulation that people who have already overcome COVID-19 will only be considered immune for a maximum of 180 days, without any explanation being provided on this timeframe, after obtaining a positive PCR test. The actual status of their immunity, which can be measured on the basis of lymphocytes or antibodies circulating in their blood, will therefore count for nothing. Moreover, while no “tracing” or “tracking” application has been made compulsory until now, this “green certificate,” conceived as an inescapable sesame, will allow Member States to implement this compulsory control of our slightest movements and consumption habits, without it being possible from now on to object to it.
“With this “green certificate” project, an apartheid society is taking shape, where healthy citizens who refuse to submit to the hygienic diktat proposed by the Commission and certain Member States will be discriminated against and ostracized from society. This is unacceptable.”
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