European Parliament and Council negotiators on Thursday reached a provisional political agreement on the regulation concerning the EU Digital COVID Certificate to facilitate travel in Europe during the pandemic.
According to the European Commission, the EU Digital COVID Certificate (previously referred to as the Digital Green Certificate) is on track to be ready end of June, as planned.
The EU Digital COVID Certificate – What was agreed
The agreement between Parliament and Council was reached after four rounds of negotiations and, among other things, ensures that:
– “Affordable and accessible testing” will be more widely available for the purpose of issuing EU digital Covid test certificates. The Commission will mobilise 100 million euros to support Member States in providing affordable tests.
– Member States shall 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 agreed text will now be put to the Civil Liberties Committee on May 26 and then to plenary for approval as well as to the Council. If confirmed by the committee, it will be tabled for adoption in plenary during the June I plenary session (June 7-10).
All parties have agreed that the EU digital Covid Certificate regulation should be in place for 12 months. The certificate will not be a precondition to exercise the right to free movement and will not be considered a travel document.
The EU Digital COVID Certificate – Key features
Following the agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council, the EU Digital COVID Certificate:
– will attest that a person has been vaccinated against coronavirus or has a recent negative test result or has recovered from the infection
– will be available in a digital and paper-based format, depending on the choice of the recipients
– will contain a digitally signed QR code
– will be free of charge and obtained easily
– will be available to persons vaccinated before the EU Digital COVID Certificate Regulation has entered into force
– may also be used by Member States for national purposes, if this is provided for in national law.
The EU Digital COVID Certificate – Common EU framework
A common EU format for certificate and framework will allow member states to issue certificates that will then be accepted in other EU countries.
“Work still remains. 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,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.