Theocharis to FT: Greece presses EU to ‘move more quickly’ on vaccine passports

File Photo: Tourism is vital to Greece, accounting for about a fifth of GDP and employment, according to the Greek Tourism Confederation. ANA – MPA/ANA-MPA/VLACHOS A.




Greece’s tourism minister has called on EU leaders to “ move more quickly” to embrace the vaccine certificates that could allow mass travel to resume, as Athens seeks to repair a holiday industry that has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Financial Times’ article.

“ Looking at the reaction of some countries to vaccination certificate proposals, I feel there’s a lot of short sightedness. There’s more to be done now to prepare ourselves,” Harry Theocharis told the Financial Times.

“ Some countries are very much preoccupied with now” he said, as northern European nations, in particular, were unwilling to look ahead and plan for an economic recovery in the summer. “ We need to move more quickly.”

The introduction of vaccination passports that could allow leisure and business travellers to move between countries after being inoculated will be discussed at the EU summit that begins on Thursday.

Member states led by Greece floated the idea last month but the bloc is divided and diplomats see early adoption of the proposed system as unlikely, because of fears they will set up a discriminatory two-tier system of citizens’ travel rights, the Financial Times added.

Tourism is vital to Greece, accounting for about a fifth of GDP and employment, according to the Greek Tourism Confederation. Despite a partial reopening last summer, the restrictions on international travel wiped 4 per cent from Greece’s GDP, UN estimates suggest, as hotel and accommodation revenues slumped by two-thirds.

The Greek sector is almost entirely reliant on international tourism with the domestic population too small and still too financially constrained following the country’s 2008 debt crisis to make up for a fall in external visitors, according to the Financial times.

Source: ANA – MPA

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