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Digital vaccination passport: Pirates see room for improvement

Credit: Lukas on Unsplash

Brussels, 17/03/2021– The Pirates Delegation in the European Parliament only partially approves the Commission’s legislative proposal for the “Digital Green Certificate”. While there will be no EU-wide vaccination register, many crucial questions are left to the Member States. National governments could still deny their citizens access to a paper-based solution or refuse accepting a negative Covid-19 test as alternative to vaccination, which could lead to discrimination in the bloc.

As opposed to first reports about the Commission’s plans, the “Digital Green Certificate” will not require EU citizens to hand over sensitive medical data to a centralized electronic vaccination register. However, Member States could still introduce it on the national level. In addition, countries would not be required to offer a paper-based solution to a digital storage device, which threatens to discriminate large numbers of citizens.

“The proposal does not yet meet the requirements of data protection and protection against discrimination,” warns German Pirate MEP Patrick Breyer. “It does not ensure that the digital variant of the certificate is stored decentrally on devices of the person concerned and not in a central vaccination register. Citizens are not given a choice whether they want to receive a digital or a paper certificate unless their Member State decides so.”

Breyer adds: “And the regulation allows freedom of travel to be linked to vaccination and negative tests not to be accepted as an alternative, which could lead to discrimination. This needs to be improved. On the other hand, I welcome the fact that the retention of medical information after showing the certificate is excluded.”

Kolaja: PCR test must be equivalent to vaccination

“Fortunately, the Commission has finally realized that health data is very sensitive and should not be stored in a single European database,” agrees Marcel Kolaja, Pirate MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament. However, the final version of the proposal must include a negative PCR test as a sufficient alternative to vaccination for travelling in the EU. “It is absolutely vital that citizens, who did not have a chance to get vaccinated, will not become second-class citizens,” adds Kolaja.

Mikuláš Peksa, Czech Pirate MEP and chairperson for the European Pirate Party, concludes: “Of course it still depends on how the proposal is regulated by the European Parliament and the Council, but so far it is generally going into the right direction. From the beginning, we have been promoting a centralized storage solution. We want people to be able to have the certificate with them, for example, on their mobile phones, as the Commission’s proposal explicitly allows.”

For further details and media inquiries please contact:

Nikolaus Riss for German and English +436769694000

Tomáš Polák for Czech and English +420728035059

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