ATHENS — "The coronavirus acted as an accelerator for the digital transformation of the state. The digital certificate functions as a fast lane for the facilitation of travel, which is especially important for our country, in the middle of the tourist season," Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Friday while addressing the presentation of the EU Digital Covid Certificate.
The presentation was made by Minister of Digital Governance Kyriakos Pierrakakis, in the presence of the President of the European Council Charles Michel and the Vice President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas, at the premises of the of the National Infrastructures for Research and Technology (GRNET).
"Greece is ready to activate the digital certificate earlier than July 1 and we encourage other countries to do the same to avoid the complexity of bilateral negotiations. I insist that our intention is not to divide, but the digital certificate will make a decisive contribution to facilitating travel, especially in the summer, which is a tourist season," the prime minister reiterated.
Mitsotakis described the certificate as the "best example of European cooperation."
He underlined that primarily the cooperation for the issue of a digital certificate was a reminder that Europe can be an incubator of ideas, innovation and solutions that can lead to change, in a rapidly changing world.
"And we call on all member-states to adhere to the timetables, in order to avoid the complicated bilateral interconnections that we would have created if we did not have access to this digital tool," he said.
"Our goal is not to separate citizens. The European digital certificate is nothing more than a fast lane. It will make travel much easier, especially during the summer," he said.
European Council President Charles Michel congratulated Greece on its rapid implementation of the EU Digital Covid Certificate.
He said that the certificate was a major European achievement, as it was crucial to show that the EU can guarantee the restoration of free movement for European citizens after the pandemic.
On his part, the Vice President of the European Commission for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: "The Greek platform for the digital certificate is one of the first to be operational, following the initiative of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in early January, just as the National Recovery Plan for the Recovery Fund was one of the first submitted to the European Commission. This shows that things are going well in Greece."
Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis explained exactly how the digital certificate works through gov.gr. He clarified that there is a common EU framework that will allow member-states to issue certificates that are interoperable, compatible, secure and verifiable throughout the Union. He added that tourists also have the opportunity through the Plf platform, if they take a test in Greece, to get the certificate.
The minister stressed that "the EU has shown leadership in promoting this system. It was a European digital choreography. This architectural interaction involved close cooperation between member-states," and noted that the issue of the digital certificate was not an easy process, as a verification platform had to be set up to prove that the certificate is authentic.