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Estonian PM: ‘Vaccine certificates are a way to get things done faster’

It is a Baltic nation known for being technologically ahead of the curve. And Estonia is living up to that reputation with the launch of a digital vaccine certificate, easily generated on smartphones. But how will Estonia’s electronic document work with certificates from other EU countries? And how many advantages should vaccinated people have in the EU this summer over those who have not received the vaccine?

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas struggles with the practical and moral implications of a digital vaccine certificate. Kallas also addresses relations with Russia, military cooperation with France and gender balance in Estonian politics.

On Estonia’s digital vaccine certificate: “It will act as a boarding pass. Your phone turns green or red, showing whether you have been vaccinated or not; showing whether you have the antibodies or not. The big question is how the different standards are interoperable with vaccination certificates from other countries. “

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Should vaccinated people have more rights? “At the moment we don’t have enough vaccines for everyone, so is it really right to give more rights to people who have been vaccinated? But I also see it as a way to get things done faster. This does not mean that we withdraw the rights of those who have not been vaccinated; but those who are, get some procedures faster than others. “

On the risk of a two-speed society in Estonia: “The state of Estonia does not oblige anyone to be vaccinated. But private companies compete with each other. Everyone wants to say: ‘Come to our restaurant; you will not catch the disease here! ‘We cannot rule out that the private sector will insist on vaccination because it is a competitive advantage. We have to discuss the consequences of that. “

On tensions with Russia and the border agreement: “We signed a border agreement with Russia in 2014, but it has not been ratified by both parliaments. We are definitely ready to proceed with ratification, but that must happen simultaneously on both sides. When we joined NATO, we clearly said that we have no territorial claims. “

On the gender balance in Estonian politics: “The picture is changing. Everyone now sees that the important positions are for both women and men. Women are, in essence, no better politicians than men, and men are no better politicians than women. But we have different life experiences and, in order to make balanced decisions, we need to have both represented. “

On Estonian-French military cooperation: “We became brothers in arms of the French soldiers in Mali and the Sahel. Cooperation worked very well. French soldiers were also represented in Estonia through NATO forces, and we definitely value that cooperation very much ”.

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