FROM THE ENCOUNTER IN BRUSSELS. From tomorrow to enter Portugal it will no longer be sufficient to show the Green Pass with the vaccination certificate: all travelers, even those coming from EU countries, will have to present the result of a negative swab, or proof of recovery. The decision was notified yesterday morning to the European Commission, which was surprised because only a few days ago it had invited governments not to introduce further restrictions for passengers with the EU Covid Certificate (the Green Pass). But the choice of Lisbon – taken following the diffusion of the new Omicron variant – does not seem to have raised particular protests in the EU capitals, a sign that other governments may soon follow this path. By imposing the buffer also on vaccinated travelers, in contrast with the measures that offer them a sort of preferential lane.
The risk is to return to a Babel of rules for travel within the EU, a situation that Brussels want to avoid. This is also why Charles Michel, president of the European Council, has decided to call an emergency meeting of EU leaders. The summit – which will be via videoconference – could be held as early as Friday or next week at the latest. “It is essential to maintain close coordination,” explains a The print an authoritative EU source, anticipating the three issues that will be on the table of the heads of state and government. The first concerns travel, within the EU, but also for those arriving from outside. The second is linked to the rhythm of the administration of the third doses, given that the countries proceed in no particular order with regard to the times and the audience of beneficiaries. The third, on the other hand, concerns international solidarity, that is to say the role that Europe intends to play in the decisive game to vaccinate the rest of the world.
Yesterday there was a meeting of the IPCR, the mechanism of the Crisis Response Council. The representatives of the 27 returned to the decision to block travel from the seven countries of southern Africa and the Commission tested the ground to extend this provision to other areas most affected by the spread of the new variant. These include Hong Kong and Israel, but the idea – also for “political” reasons – found no support. The new recommendation was then discussed which envisages reducing the duration of the Green Pass for vaccinated people to 9 months, in order to incentivize the third dose. The larger countries are in favor, but those late in vaccinations are reticent because they would not have time to administer the “boosters”. A derogation of a few months from the entry into force of the new provision, currently set for January, is therefore possible.
International pressure is mounting on the EU to encourage a temporary liberalization of patents for vaccines. Brussels remains very cautious and firm on its positions. “Unlike others – continues a senior EU official – we do not block exports and we are working with African countries to increase production there. On the donation front, yes, greater efforts are needed. And the EU leaders will talk about this too ».