Greek Idea – COVID-19 EU Vaccine Certificate – Starts in Greece

ΑΤΗΕΝS — Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' suggestion the European Union should have a bloc-wide certificate showing proof of a COVID-19 vaccination to facilitate travel and tourism will have its test run – in Greece.

The EU, notorious for a cumbersome bureaucracy and inefficiency, said it will be available July 1, too late for many people to make summer travel plans, but Greece wasted no time, introducing it June 2 in paper and cell phone modes.

It hasn't been determined yet either which countries have safe enough records in dealing with the pandemic so they are eligible to use it, the EU still fumbling with details, but Greeks who get one are free to travel in the 27 member states.

Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis told SKAI TV that Greece is among the first to begin a pilot trial, having already opened its doors on May 15 to international travelers who are vaccinated or free of the Coronavirus.

Officials expect all EU members, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, to activate the digital certificate on July 1. Greek citizens can obtain the certificate online at eudcc.gov.gr, using their Taxisnet or Social Security Registry (AMKA) number if they are fully vaccinated, recovered from the virus or have had a recent negative molecular or rapid antigen test.

Each country can post its own guidelines as to how conditions must be met, so prospective travelers must inquire whether their certificate is valid for the country or countries they plan to visit, adding confusion to the scheme.

The EU Digital Covid Certificate is issued for free and can be printed. It includes a QR code with a digital signature and is in both the issuing country’s language and in English. In Greece, it will be be issued through the Citizens’ Service Centers (KEP), either online (kep.gov.gr) or in person.

Six other countries, including Germany, are also jumping in although vaccines not approved for use across the EU are also going to be allowed for eligibility, some that had dubious results, their efficacy in question.

“EU citizens are looking forward to traveling again, and they want to do so safely. Having an EU certificate is a crucial step on the way,” EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said.

Pierrakakis, said easier travel would open up within the EU as nations adopted the new verification standard even though it's not standard nor uniform and can vary widely from country to country.

“What will happen is that countries will stop issuing certificates using their own convention and adopt the common convention. That will simplify things considerably, because you can imagine the number of bilateral agreements that would otherwise need to be worked out,” Pierrakakis also said.

Kyriakides said in the next few weeks, all EU nations needed to “fully finalize their national systems to issue, store and verify certificates, so the system is functioning in time for the holiday season,” although that will be too late for many to make plans.

Tests on human waste show that the viral load is either declining very slowly or stabilizing in many parts of Greece, although slower in Attica prefecture, which includes the capital and half the country's population.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)


ATHENS - Sending mixed signals, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is continuing to confound Greece's New Democracy government about his intentions after a NATO meeting in Madrid where he refused to meet Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.


TNΗ’s Happenings of the Week by Eraklis Diamataris

NEW YORK – The National Herald’s Happenings of the Week as have been reported at the print and digital editions of TNH and presented by the TNH Editor Eraklis Diamataris.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.