Europe’s aviation, travel and tourism sectors on Thursday welcomed the vote in the European Parliament on the EU’s proposed Digital Green Certificate Regulation, setting trilogue negotiations between the Parliament, the Council and the European Commission into motion.
A proposal by the Commission, the Digital Green Certificate aims to make travelling within the EU easier.
“Swift action and alignment among the institutions is now critical in order to make the certificates operational by June and ensure reciprocity with non-EU systems,” aviation, travel and tourism sector bodies said in a joint announcement.
As noted in the announcement, common, interoperable, secure and GDPR-compliant health certificates represent an essential tool to facilitate the free movement of people within the EU and reopen travel in a safe and responsible way through the easing, and ultimately lifting of current travel restrictions.
It is noted that the Parliament’s position on Wednesday brought forward changes to the original proposal:
– A new name, “EU COVID-19 Certificate” has been agreed to make it clearer to EU citizens and also limit the certificates’ use to during the pandemic.
– Free and accessible testing: Testing is absolutely key in the fight against Covid-19, and the requirement to conduct pre-departure tests (often PCR) should not create an economic distortion between travellers. With tests ranging from 10 to 150 euros, it is clear that such high costs could become a deterrent to travel – in particular among families.
– Full equality among vaccinated and tested citizens: No additional measures such as quarantine or further testing should be imposed on travellers presenting a valid “EU Covid-19 Certificate”.
“The proposed amendments send a strong political message from the Parliament on the urgency to restore free movement in the EU. This is not a privilege — it is a right as one of the pillars of the single market enshrined in the European treaties,” the joint announcement reads.
According to a recent IATA survey, 72 percent of people want to travel to see family and friends as soon as possible. The aviation, travel and tourism sectors therefore are urging swift negotiations and agreement by mid-May so that pilot testing and full implementation can take place in June.
“Time is of the essence, to offer EU citizens a much-needed breather after a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions which have negatively impacted consumers’ mental health and well-being,” the announcement notes.