Greece and Israel Sign Common Vaccination Passport Deal

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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has reached an agreement with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to implement a “green passport” to facilitate travel between Greece and Israel for those who have been vaccinated.

The Greece/Israel “green passport” deal was signed on February 8th during a visit by Mitsotakis to Jerusalem, with Netanyahu confirming that those with a common vaccination passport will be able to travel between the 2 countries “without any limitations, no self-isolation, nothing” once travel restarts.

Successful Israel Vaccine Drive Helps Bolster Agreement

During the meeting of the two leaders, Mitsotakis also congratulated Netanyahu on the progress of Israel’s vaccine drive. Roughly 20% of the Israeli population have already received a dose and it could become one of the first countries to achieve herd immunity for its population.

He also expressed his desire to welcome Israeli tourists back to Greece once a significant amount of the population has received the vaccine, commenting, “I expect that by April we will have suppressed the epidemic much further and also we are moving fast with vaccination plan[s].”

Most foreign citizens are still prohibited from entering Greece. Those that are allowed to enter must have a medical certificate showing a negative PCR test result and undergo self-isolation for 7 days. As of writing, all international flights to Israel continue to be banned.

Greece Still Hopes for Common Vaccine Passport with Other Countries

Greece’s “green passport” deal with Israel is not the first time that Mitsotakis has asked for a common vaccination passport to be established with other countries in order to boost the flagging Greek tourism industry.

Earlier in January, he called on the European Commission to consider implementing a common EU vaccine passport with the other members of the European Union, to which EC President Ursula von der Leyen was receptive.

However, she also stated that the proposal required a ‘sensitive debate’ before it could be passed. The leaders of several EU countries still remain skeptical about the proposed measure, citing privacy concerns and that it could make citizens feel that vaccination was mandatory.

Nevertheless, Mitsotakis remains hopeful that a “green passport” between Greece and the EU can still come to fruition, stating, “I expect what we will be doing with Israel to be a trial run of what we can do with other countries”.

Both Greece and Israel have already implemented plans for a domestic “green passport” which will allow their citizens to attend large gatherings and cultural venues once lockdown measures have been lifted. Israel is also reportedly close to implementing an additional common vaccination passport deal with Cyprus.

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