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Fact Check-Mandatory vaccinations have not been introduced ‘under the radar’ in the European Union

The European Union (EU) has not launched mandatory vaccinations, despite people claiming online that such a policy has been introduced “under the radar”.

Social media users making the claim have shared a screenshot of an April 1 article on GlobalResearch.ca, a website that describes itself as a Montreal-based independent research and media organization (www.globalresearch.ca/about-2).

According to the writer (article archived here), the piece is a copy-paste of a Gmail message with “completely legit info” that “mandatory vaccination for the EU just went through under the radar”.

An initial bullet point in the copied message says the European Council has amended Resolution 2361 “and no longer objects to compulsory vaccination”.

A second bullet point adds: “As of July 1 2022 the EU has announced the legislation for the mandatory EU COVID 19 Certificates that deprive you of all freedoms if you do not have a QR covid certificate. If there is a majority of member states sighing [sic] the legislation, compulsory vaccination will be introduced.”

Screenshots of the claim can also be found on Facebook (here and here), Twitter (here and here), and other blog sites here and here.

THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE AND THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL

Resolution 2361 (see here) was passed in January 2021 by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, a 47-member organisation separate from the European Union. Its role is to promote and guard human rights, democracy and the rule of law across the continent.

The resolution contains recommendations for member states and the European Union on the ethical, legal and practical considerations of COVID-19 vaccines, including the topic of mandatory vaccination.

Reuters was unable to find an amendment in the resolution that removed objections to compulsory vaccination. Section 7.3.1 states that, in order to ensure high vaccine uptake, citizens should be informed that vaccination is not mandatory.

The Council of Europe, headquartered in Strasbourg, is entirely distinct from the European Council, the assembly of governments that wields ultimate power in the EU. (here).

Resolutions approved by PACE are not legally binding on member states, though they do carry moral authority and influence politicians. (here).

An EU official told Reuters: “There is a confusion as the resolution comes from another institution, not an EU institution. It comes from the Council of Europe – the human rights organisation, which is different from the European Council bringing together the EU’s 27 leaders.”

The official also explained that “there has not been any reference to mandatory vaccinations” within the European Council.

Rather, the EU has proposed a 12-month extension to its EU Digital COVID Certificate to allow citizens to travel freely around the bloc amid the pandemic. The extension, if ratified, would begin on July 1 (here).

Steve Peers, a Professor of EU Law at the University of Essex, told Reuters that the article had misunderstood “what EU law is called and how it is adopted”.

He added that the decision whether to make vaccination mandatory is up to EU member states themselves.

GlobalResearch.ca has since changed its headline to: “Digital Tyranny: The EU Digital Covid Vaccine Certificate Framework,” and has acknowledged publishing false information about Resolution 2361.

Reuters has previously addressed a misunderstanding about Resolution 2361 in another fact check here.

VERDICT

False. The EU has not introduced mandatory vaccinations.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.

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