POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - EUROPE

General Affairs Council

Luxembourg seeks EU consensus on covid vaccine certificates



Different EU countries apply different rules when it comes to the validity of coronavirus vaccine certificates Photo: Matic Zorman / Maison Moderne

Different EU countries apply different rules when it comes to the validity of coronavirus vaccine certificates Photo: Matic Zorman / Maison Moderne

Luxembourg called for uniform rules on the validity of covid-19 vaccine certificates in an EU meeting on Tuesday also saying internal borders should remain open as the pandemic surges in Europe. 

An increase in coronavirus infections in Europe has seen Austria go into lockdown and the Netherlands reinstate social distancing while other countries mull introducing restrictions as well.

Luxembourg foreign minister Jean Asselborn (LSAP) during the gathering of EU foreign ministers on 23 November stressed the importance of proportionality of covid-related measures across the EU. Austria as part of its lockdown closed its borders for tourists and Brussels is mulling new proposals on travel and freedom of movement.

Asselborn is an adamant defender of the Schengen agreement and freedom of movement within the EU. When Germany introduced border checks with Austria’s Tirol region in February and Luxembourg was at risk of suffering the same fate, the minister called the border inspections “poison for the European idea.”

Luxembourg’s chief diplomat warned that divergent approaches on covid-19 vaccine certificates between member countries could have a negative impact on free movement and the daily lives of cross-border workers of which there are around 200,000 in the grand duchy. He said the EU should seek consensus on the documents’ validity. 

In Luxembourg, for example, booster shots are being offered to all over 18s but vaccine certificates will remain valid without the third inoculation. In France on the other hand, people over 65 years old are required to get a booster shot as of 15 December for their covid certificate to remain valid.