Friday, April 23, 2021
23 April 2021- On 17 March 2021, the European Commission proposed creating a Digital Green Certificate, a (digital or paper) document which would facilitate free movement inside the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be a proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result, or recovered from COVID-19.
We, the undersigned Members of European Parliament, and members of the European Christian Political Movement, are deeply concerned about the creation and implementation of the Digital Green Certificate for the following reasons:
Firstly, it restricts the free movement of persons on the EU territory, by conditioning it. Freedom of movement and residence for persons in the EU is the cornerstone of Union citizenship, established by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992. By placing conditions on the EU citizens’ right to travel and move freely within EU, it violates Article 3(2) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU); Article 21 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU); Titles IV and V of the TFEU; Article 45 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Although we recognize the seriousness of the COVID-19 health crisis, we do not consider it should be used as a pretext to limit or violate the rights of EU citizens.
Secondly, this Digital Green Certificate is discriminatory. At the moment, the majority of EU citizens are not yet vaccinated; some do not wish to be vaccinated and others (like pregnant women) are unable to get vaccinated. These citizens will be adversely affected in their movements and daily life, if the Digital Green Certificate is adopted and implemented. An argument could be made that these people will need to be tested as an alternative. However, given the fact that tests are not free, nor easily available, nor completely reliable and only valid for a few days, they are not truly an equal option. For a large family, for people with limited financial resources or for someone who needs to travel frequently for work, continuous testing is an unsustainable burden.
Thirdly, we are deeply concerned about the personal and medical data collected for this certificate. Currently, there is no clear and detailed information on how this data will be collected, hosted, handled and used. It is claimed it will respect data protection, but there are no indications how that will be achieved. Potentially, this will become a huge database of names, birth dates and medical details of EU citizens- a very attractive target for hackers or corporations interested in data mining. This is a vulnerability for EU citizens and a risk we are not willing to take.
In conclusion, given the conditionality imposed on the right of EU citizens to free movement, the discriminatory nature, and the vulnerability and risks for the integrity of the personal data of European citizens, we are against the Digital Green Certificate being adopted and implemented in the European Union.
Cristian Terheș MEP
Bert-Jan Ruissen MEP
Helmut Geuking MEP