The European Commission called on member states ahead of the next European Council to endorse a common EU reopening strategy that will include issuing the so-called “green certificates” in order to facilitate safe travel and set economies into motion.
The Commission hopes to pass relevant proposals outlining a coordinated approach to the gradual lifting of Covid-19 restrictions during a European leaders meeting on March 25.
As key steps to recovery, the Commission proposes the following measures:
– the introduction of Digital Green Certificates covering vaccination and facilitating free movement within the EU. A technical framework will be defined at EU level to be put in place by mid-June
– a European framework for Covid-19 response measures to help EU states take decisions on implementing restrictions. In this direction, an interactive digital tool developed by the ECDC will be operational in April
– the ECDC will publish technical guidance on Covid-19 self-tests, including details on availability, clinical performance, implications for reporting and epidemiological surveillance, and settings for appropriate use as well as guidance on tracing strategies
– investment in research and manufacturing to ensure quick access to valuable treatments
– assisting the tourism & hospitality, and culture sectors to prepare for safe re-opening through standardization, including issuing by summer a voluntary sanitary seal to be used by establishments. At the same time, EU cultural heritage sites and cultural routes, as well as cultural events and festivals, will promoted through an EU social media campaign on sustainable cultural tourism
– establishing a coordinated European approach to vaccine sharing by setting up an EU Vaccine Sharing Mechanism to help partner countries overcome the pandemic.
“The situation with the virus in Europe is still very challenging and confidence in decisions taken are crucial. It is only through a joint approach that we can return safely to full free movement in the EU, based on transparent measures and full mutual confidence,” said Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides.
In efforts to gain insight for a resilient future, in June the European Commission will publish a paper on the lessons learnt from the pandemic.
“The common path forward requires a safe and sustainable approach for the benefit of all Europeans. In lifting restrictions, we must learn the lessons of 2020 and avoid damaging and costly cycles of opening and closing,” said Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas.