Lithuania's Foreign Vice-Minister Pranckevičius: A Digital Green Certificate should only include vaccines approved by the EU
On 23 March, the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Arnoldas Pranckevičius took part in an informal video conference of European affairs ministers, which prepared for the European Council on 25 and 26 March.
Ministers discussed the EU’s coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the single market, industrial policy, digital transformation, the EU's external relations, the European Semester, and the Conference on the Future of Europe.
Pranckevičius urged the EU to take more active action in ensuring the supply of the coronavirus vaccine: “The supply of the vaccine remains a major challenge for the EU and its member states that aim to manage the pandemic. Therefore, vaccine manufacturers must fulfil their contractual obligations and the existing barriers must be removed in the vaccine supply chains. Lithuania calls on the partners to temporarily to redistribute unused vaccines among member states,” said Pranckevičius.
The Foreign Vice-Minister drew delegations' attention to the call of the three Baltic Prime Ministers on the European Commission to set up a mechanism for redistributing coronavirus vaccines among the EU member states that were handling difficult epidemiological situations.
The Foreign Vice-Minister informed that Lithuania supported the Commission's proposal to create a Digital Green Certificate, which would be a proof that a person had been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19. According to Pranckevičius, it is very important to agree on a common approach to third-country nationals arriving in member states. Furthermore, a Digital Green Certificate should only include vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency.
Pranckevičius noted that when deepening the EU’s single market, the removal of specific remaining barriers had to become a priority: “It is necessary to ensure that the legal framework in the EU and its member states is in line with the 'Green' objectives. We would like to particularly emphasise the importance of the Commission's new proposal after its impact assessment of the Mobility Package, which has shown that the package undermined the principles of the EU's single market and would also put ambitious environmental objectives at risk,” said the Foreign Vice-Minister.
As regards the EU’s external relations, Pranckevičius stressed that there were no positive changes in Russia’s behaviour. Thus, the five guiding principles must continue to apply to the EU's relations with Russia. In addition, the EU must increase its support for the Russian opposition and civil society. The Foreign Vice-Minister also said that constructive dialogue with Turkey should be pursued, but it should be based on clear principles, values and respect for human rights.