The EU is being urged to agree a common digital European Covid-19 vaccination certificate that would enable those who have received jabs to travel freely within Europe without testing.

Governments should co-ordinate a policy that would see Europe safely gain the economic and social benefits of renewed freedom of movement, beginning with those who are vaccinated, according to Iata.

The airline industry body wants European Union rule-makers to support the initiative put forward by Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The call came in an open letter to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, and copied to key policy-makers across the EU.

Mitsotakis’ proposal will be on the agenda at a meeting of EU heads of state tomorrow (Thursday).

Iata hopes they will direct the Commission to take action and develop a common certification.

Association director general and chief executive Alexandre de Juniac said: ”Prime minister Mitsotakis’ initiative should be urgently adopted by the Commission and all member states.

“Vaccination is a fundamental key to safely reopening borders and stimulating economic recovery.

“A pan-European mutually recognised vaccination certificate would be an important step towards giving governments the confidence to safely open their borders, and passengers the confidence to fly without the barrier of quarantine.”

The Greek proposal is for a harmonised vaccination certificate that could contribute “to the re-establishment of mobility on a global scale, which is the foundation for re-establishing economic activity to pre-crisis levels”.

The need for a harmonised aviation restart is more urgent than ever in the face of renewed lockdowns and travel restrictions across the world, Iata said.

De Juniac stressed the need for governments to prepare for re-establishing the freedom of movement with well-coordinated planning as the virus eventually comes under control, testing capacities improve and the number of people vaccinated grows.

Planning should use the most effective combination of vaccination and testing capabilities.

“We are in very dark days of this pandemic. But the tough measures taken combined with accelerating vaccination programs must give us hope that we can safely re-establish the freedom of movement,” said de Juniac.

“That will save jobs, ease mental anguish, re-connect families and revive the economy. To do this safely and efficiently, planning is key.

“Prime minister Mitsotakis’s proposal for vaccine certificates will be a key enabler. Progress on eliminating or reducing quarantines can be made with testing protocols.

“But what we need now is for governments to start working together much more effectively. Unilateral government actions were able to quickly dismantle global connectivity. Re-building will need co-ordination,” said de Juniac.