PM: Vaccine jab and certificate are important tools for tourism to recover

PM Robert Abela has described the introduction of the EU vaccine certificate as from 1 July as a game changer.

Dr Abela was speaking to journalists at the end of the first session of the Council of European Leaders which is meeting in Brussels, during which it discussed the COVID-19 situation in the European Union.

The PM said that Malta was the first country to launch the vaccine certificate and this will facilitate one of the principles of freedom of movement –  a major principle on which the EU is based, and which during the last few months has been restricted due to the measures imposed because of the pandemic.

Dr Abela said that for our country, tourism is crucial and he is looking forward to a strong summer of work in this sector.  He added that this certificate will be the main tool, along with the vaccine itself, for this sector to continue to recover.

Arrival of immigrants has decreased substantially

During the meetings, European leaders also had discussions about Libya and immigration with the UN Secretary General António Guterres.

The PM noted with satisfaction that this subject is being frequently placed on the Council’s agenda.  He said Malta has always been vociferous about this topic and the way Malta is working Libya is leading to satisfying results, in fact, the arrival of immigrants in Malta has decreased substantially.

However, he warned that this weekend could change everything so it was important to keep working in this field.

With reference to the law passed by the Hungarian Government which bans the promotion of homosexuality and gender change among children and those under 18 in schools, the PM said that this was the most heated discussion at the European Council.

He added that Malta has always been consistent about the rights of people who are LGBITQ and was one of the 16 European countries which, before the meeting of the Heads of States, signed a letter sent to leaders of European institutions in which they insisted that the rights of these people should never be trampled on.