Lawmakers in Greece and in the EU gave the Digital COVID Certificate the final go-ahead so that member states can put it into force on July 1 for 12 months.
Eager to see their economies recover, EU countries hope that the EU Covid-19 Certificate, which will indicate whether its holder has been fully vaccinated, has a negative PCR test result, or has recovered from Covid-19, will make safe travel easier.
The certificate will be issued free of charge by national authorities and be available in either digital or paper format containing a QR code.
According to the regulation, the certificate will apply in all EU member states and should facilitate free movement and contribute to restrictions being lifted gradually in a coordinated manner.
A unified EU framework will ensure certificates are interoperable and verifiable across the EU, as well as prevent fraud and forgery.
At the same time, lawmakers also agreed that affordable testing for Covid-19 should be widely available.
The regulation stresses that the certificate will not be a precondition for free movement and will not be considered a travel document.
EU states have also committed to avoid imposing additional travel restrictions on certificate holders, such as quarantine, self-isolation or testing “unless they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health”.
If they do decide to impose measures, they will have to provide scientific evidence “including epidemiological data published by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)”, notify other member states and the Commission 48 hours in advance, and the public 24 hours in advance.
All EU countries must accept vaccination certificates issued in other member states for vaccines authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
“Today, parliament has set the pace to restore free movement and a fully functional Schengen while we continue to fight this pandemic. The EU Digital Covid Certificate will function from July 1st, and will ensure safe and coordinated travel this summer,” said Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee and rapporteur, Juan Fernando López Aguilar.
“EU states are encouraged to refrain from imposing further restrictions, unless strictly necessary and proportionate, and it is reassuring that some are already issuing the certificate,” he added.
Greek parliament also approved the certificate on Tuesday
“The Covid-19 digital certificate is a positive sign for Greece, and will fortify tourism and at the same time the Greek economy,” said Deputy Digital Governance Minister Georgios Georgantas, who went on to underline the importance of speed and reliability needed in the certificate scheme implementation.
It should be reminded that international travelers who hold a digital EU Covid-19 Certificate are allowed admission into Greece.