The regulation establishing the EU Digital COVID Certificate will be prolonged by one year, until 30 June 2023, the European Council announced on Monday.
Aiming to facilitate travel, the certificate serves as proof that a person has been vaccinated against Covid-19, received a negative test result or recovered from the coronavirus. The digital COVID certificate has played an important role in facilitating the free movement of people during the pandemic.
The extension of the regulation will ensure that EU travellers as well as those from third countries connected to the system can continue to use their EU digital COVID certificate for travel within the Union in member states where these travel certificates are required past the regulation’s initial expiry date of 30 June 2022. The regulation establishing the EU digital COVID certificate was adopted on 14 June 2021 and has been in force since 1 July 2021.
The announcement of the regulation’s extension came after an agreement was reached between the Council and the European Parliament.
The informal deal will now have to be formally adopted by both the Parliament and the Council, in order for it to enter into force by 30 June, when the current rules expire. The vote in plenary is scheduled for the 22-23 June session in Brussels.
Over 1.8 billion certificates issued
Since the launch of the system, over 1.8 billion certificates have been issued to facilitate travel in Covid times, according to Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders.
“The EU Digital COVID Certificate has been a key instrument to help us through the changing tides,” Reynders said, adding that the EU is committed to a return to unrestricted free movement.
Today, 67 countries and territories are connected to the EU Digital COVID Certificate system.
“And we welcome the decision taken by some Member States to lift all travel restrictions, including the presentation of a COVID Certificate,” the Commissioner added.
Reynders said that the extension of the EU Digital COVID Certificate will help continue to facilitate free and safe travel, should a rise in infections make it necessary for Member States to temporarily reintroduce restrictions.
According to the Council, if the health situation allows, the regulation can also be repealed earlier.
In addition to the prolongation, the European Council and the European Parliament also agreed on:
– an obligation for the Commission to submit a detailed report by 31 December 2022. This report could be accompanied by legislative proposals to allow for a new assessment of the need to repeal or maintain the certificate, depending on developments in the health situation;
– the clarification that vaccination certificates should reflect all doses administered; regardless of – the member state where people received their vaccination;
– the possibility to issue a certificate of recovery following an antigen test;
– the extension of the range of authorised antigen tests used to qualify for a COVID-19 certificate;
– the possibility to allow vaccination certificates to be issued to persons participating in clinical trials.
Press here for information provided by the Council on the EU Digital COVID Certificate.