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Commission Proposes Extending EU Covid-19 Travel Pass by a Year

Photo source: European Commission / Photographer: Christophe Licoppe

As part of ongoing efforts to facilitate safe travel in times of Covid-19, the European Commission proposed on Thursday to extend the use of the EU Digital Covid Certificate by a year.

First implemented on July 1, 2021, the document has enabled free movement and simplified travel across the EU allowing restriction-free access to holders.

It is reminded that more than 1.2 billion EU Digital Covid Certificates have been issued and 60 countries are connected to the system. Holders of the document, which provides proof of Covid vaccination, testing and recovery, can travel freely between member states.

The decision comes after tourism industry calls for an extension as well as in an attempt to prevent a patchwork of controls and blanket restrictions.

In view of the Omicron variant and the ongoing pandemic, the Commission is proposing the EU Digital COVID Certificate remain effective until June 30, 2023. The initial expiration date was set for June 30 this year.

“Extending the regulation will ensure that travelers can continue using their EU Digital Covid Certificate when traveling in the EU where member states maintain certain public health measures,” the Commission said in its statement on Thursday, adding that the proposal will now go to the European Parliament and Council for final approval.

Photo source: European Commission

“Without this extension, we risk having many divergent national systems, and all the confusion and obstacles that this would cause,” said European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders, who described the certificate as being  “an effective tool”.

Besides the extension of the EU Covid pass, the Commission also proposed including high-quality laboratory-based antigen tests among the types of tests for which a test certificate can be issued; ensuring that vaccination certificates contain the correct overall number of doses administered in any EU state and not just in the member state issuing the certificate; providing that certificates may be issued to persons participating in clinical trials for vaccines against Covid-19.

In the meantime, domestic use of the EU Digital Covid Certificates is up to individual member states, however, EU members with a domestic system should ensure that the EU Digital Covid Certificate is also fully accepted for those purposes.

Lastly, the Commission called on EU national governments to harmonize their domestic validity periods with the validity period set at EU level for the purpose of travel.

Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides. Photo source: @European Commission

“We propose to update the possibilities to make use of the certificate for travel across the EU in order to provide certainty for our citizens, as long as the public health needs persist. We also propose to bring our certificate up to date with the latest scientific developments and epidemiological changes, the need to speed up booster campaigns and to support vital ongoing clinical research, acknowledging citizens taking part in it,” said Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, adding that the certificate has facilitated safe free movement and travel in times of great uncertainty.

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  1. R Ferguson Reply

    More lies extend for a year, then it will be another year, the bug has gone was never as bad as the people were told. CDC in USA say 75% of covid related deaths the people had four or more co-morbidities, in UK they say 17,000 died from the virus with no illness, but they have not said how many in the total was caused by the Flu, as they added flu cases to the covid case total.

  2. Darryl Reply

    So the vaccines don’t work, the real threat is basically a mild flu now and you want to drag this out for another year? All of these people making decisions should be dropped in the middle of the desert without food or water.

  3. Anabel Aquilina Reply

    What sort of FREE MOVEMENT it is when you are imposing the certificate to travel? That is imposition of ‘medication’ to those who are refusing to do so? But at the same time they HAVE to travel for work, to see family etc? I call this free movement something else : Dictatorship! If I’m not misktaken it’s not written down in any of the treaties as a fundamental freedom?!!!

  4. Rick Reply

    I received my primary vaccinations in Greece, and my booster dose in the U.K.
    The citizens centre (KEP) have recorded by booster dose, but can not issue a revised EU / National vaccination certificate, and subsequently, the QR code on my certificate will expire 7 months after my last vaccination in Greece. At this point, I will be denied entry to to all establishments with the exception of food shops and pharmacies.
    This is discrimanatry,and worrying. Greece has a ‘monochrome’approach to its systems, which are totally I flexible.

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