The European Union’s main institutions have reached a provisional political agreement to press ahead with the EU Digital COVID Certificate. If all goes to plan – with its formal adoption – the certificate (previously known as the “Digital Green Certificate”) will be ready to be introduced at the end of June.
In a press statement welcoming the agreement, between the European Parliament and Council, and its “swift progress” (two months after the European Commission presented the proposal), commission president Ursula von der Leyen said, “We are delivering on our commitment to have the EU Digital COVID Certificate up and running before the summer. European citizens are looking forward to travelling again, and today’s agreement means they will be able to do so safely very soon.”
According to the commission, the EU Digital COVID Certificate will be free of charge, secure and accessible to all, and cover the different options of vaccination, test and recovery. “It fully respects citizens’ fundamental rights, including protection of personal data.”
Noting that all EU citizens have a fundamental right to free movement in the EU, the commission said the certificate would be available in paper or digital format, and would make it easier for Europeans to travel – “whether to see their families and loved ones or to get some well-deserved rest”.
Nevertheless, added the commission, work still remained to see the proposal through to fruition.
“At EU level, the system will be ready in the next few days. It is now crucial that all member states press ahead with the roll-out of their national systems to ensure that the system can be up and running as soon as possible. This is what EU citizens rightly expect. Today’s agreement has demonstrated that, with the commitment and cooperation of all, the EU Digital COVID Certificate will be available on time.”
Key Features of the EU Digital COVID Certificate
- It will cover vaccination, test and recovery.
- It will be available in a digital and paper-based format, depending on the choice of the recipients, and contain a digitally signed QR code.
- It will be free of charge, be obtained easily, and also be available to people vaccinated before the certificate regulation has entered into force.
- It may also be used by member states for national purposes, “if this is provided for in national law”.
- Member states will be required to “refrain from imposing additional travel restrictions on the holders of an EU Digital COVID Certificate, unless they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health”.
- The commission will also mobilise €100 million to support member states in providing affordable tests.
The next step is for the political agreement to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and Council. It is proposed that the regulation will enter into force on 1 July, with a phasing-in period of six weeks for the issuance of certificates for any member states that need additional time.
Latest information about coronavirus measures and travel restrictions provided by member states is available on the Re-open EU platform.
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