The EU Digital Covid-19 Certificate has played a decisive role in Europe’s response to the pandemic and has facilitated travel supporting the continent’s hard-hit tourism industry, the European Commission said this week.
Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas said the EU Digital Covid Certificate confirmed the EU’s role as a “global standard setter” describing its rollout as “a great European success story”.
According to a Commission report adopted this week, more than 591 million certificates have been issued so far, setting a global standard, with 43 countries across four continents already using the system.
The report adds that more countries are expected to join the system, which so far includes 27 EU states, three European Economic Area (EEA) countries, Switzerland, and 12 other countries and territories.
A total of 60 third countries have expressed interest in joining the EU system, the report said.
Air transport and tourism were among the first sectors to benefit from the certificate’s launch earlier this summer.
Indicatively, Airports Council International (ACI Europe) reported that in July 2021, total passenger volumes more than doubled compared to July 2020 attributing this change in large part to the digital Covid pass rollout.
The report also cites a Eurobarometer survey which found that approximately 65 percent of people polled agreed the certificate was the safest means for free travel in Europe during the pandemic.
“The EU Digital Covid Certificate is a symbol of an open and safe Europe. The quick roll-out of the system, not just in the EU but internationally, is an example of the EU cooperating and delivering in extraordinary circumstances. It is a strong European tool that has allowed us to move towards the reopening of our economies and societies and the exercise of free movement in a safe and coordinated way,” said Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides.
The Commission is expected to continue monitoring the validity of vaccination and recovery certificates as well as the use of antibody and rapid antigen tests for recovery certificates, and reconsider options once new scientific guidance is received. Technical work is also set to improve the functionalities of the system.