European Union leaders agreed last night to work on the introduction of vaccine passports by the summer, say reports.

Following a virtual EU summit, the German chancellor Angela Merkel said there was agreement on the need for digital vaccination certificates.

However, it could take three months for the technical work to be completed so the scheme may not be ready by the time the UK government expects non-essential overseas travel to resume on May 17.

Greece and Spain have been calling for vaccine passports to enable holidaymakers to return and boost their tourism-dependent economies but Sky News reported other countries, such as France and Belgium, are concerned the certificates would discriminate against those who have not been immunised.

Sky News said: “Austria and Bulgaria also support the EU-wide certificate, but Vienna said it would implement its own if the EU cannot agree on anything by spring – and wants to include people who have immunity through having Covid-19 and those who have tested negative.”

It added: “French President Emmanuel Macron said a balance must be found and there are still ethical questions to be resolved, adding that certificates would be unfair for young people who are at the back of the vaccine queue.”

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