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European Union plots bloc-wide vaccine passport

An EU-wide vaccine passport which could replace the piecemeal approach currently being pursued by individual member states, will be put forward this Wednesday (17 March).

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission has previously said it would be possible to develop an Israeli-style ‘green pass’ within about three months using data from EU citizens who have been vaccinated, tested negative or are immune to Covid-19.

So-called vaccine passports are already being developed, or are under consideration, in a number of European Union countries, including Sweden, Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic and Cyprus.

Ylva Johansson (pictured), the EU’s commissioner for internal affairs, confirmed to Euronews on Friday (12 March) that Europeans who have been inoculated with one of four approved coronavirus vaccines would be eligible for the passports, in a scheme that could pave the way to the resumption of cross-border touring.

Europeans who have been inoculated with one of four approved coronavirus vaccines would be eligible for the passports

The four vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson jabs; other vaccines, such as Russia’s Sputnik V and China’s Sinopharm, would be excluded pending EMA authorisation.

Speaking to privacy concerns over the planned ‘passport’, an EU source tells Euronews use of the green pass – available digitally or as a printed certificate – would be limited to the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In Israel, green passes, issued to citizens after their second and final Covid-19 jab, are enabling the return of concerts, with up to 1,500 people now allowed at outdoor shows.

 


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Industry orgs: Bring back EU culture commissioner title

A collection of music industry associations have shown their support for the Bring Back Culture campaign, following the absence of the term ‘culture’ from the title of EU commissioner, Mariya Gabriel.

On 10 September, president-elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, presented the commission’s new structure, with eight vice presidents standing for updated work priorities. Culture falls under the gambit of Commissioner Gabriel, but is absent from her title of ‘Innovation and Youth’.

Von der Leyen takes over from Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission on 1 November, 2019.

Culture Action Europe (CAE), a network of cultural organisations, penned an open letter to the president of the European Commission asking for the insertion of the term ‘culture’ into the title. The letter was signed by bodies including the British Council, the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance, the European Choral Association, the European Concert Hall Organisation and Opera Europa,

The signatories are concerned that culture will not “remain at the appropriate level of recognition” due to the title change.

“We call upon the president of the European Commission to reinforce the role of culture by spelling out ‘culture’ in the title of the commissioner”

European live industry body Pearle*, the European Music Council (EMC) and venue network Live DMA are among live music-related organisations to lend their support to the CAE campaign.

“Pearle* looks forward to discussing Commissioner-designate Mariya Gabriel’s priorities on culture and the new Creative Europe programme,” reads a statement from the organisation. “However, we regret that culture is not literally mentioned in her portfolio’s title.

“This sets an unwelcome precedent since culture has been included in the European Treaty in 1991.”

The EMC and Live DMA similarly express concerns, saying “we call upon the president of the European Commission to reinforce the role of culture for the development of the European Union by spelling out ‘culture’ in the title of the commissioner.”

All three organisations had previously urged politicians to put live music at the core of EU policy, prior to the European Parliament elections in May.

The CAE online petition had received 1,885 signatures at press time.

 


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