Thursday, May 27, 2021

Committee of Civil Liberties Approves COVID-19 Passport for EU & Third-Country Citizens

The Civil Liberties Committee has endorsed the EU Digital COVID-19 Passport package set to allow free movement in the European Union/Schengen Area without discrimination and support the restart of the travel and tourism sector.

In a press release issued by the European Parliament, it was revealed that the package has been approved with 52 votes in favour, 13 votes against, and three abstentions for EU citizens and with 53 votes in favour, ten votes against, and five abstentions for third-country citizens.

The Regulation is expected to apply from July 1, 2021, reports.

“The EP started negotiations with very ambitious objectives in mind and has managed to achieve a good compromise through painstaking negotiations. The text voted today will ensure that freedom of movement will be safely restored across the EU as we continue to fight this pandemic, with due respect for the right of our citizens to non-discrimination and data protection,” Chair of Committee Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar said.

The EU Parliament, together with the Council, have already reached an agreement regarding the EU Digital COVID-19 Passport and have ensured that it will be ready by the end of June.

The EU Digital COVID-19 Passport will be issued by national authorities of each country and will be available in two formats, digital or paper format.

The passport will include information on the holder’s vaccination status, whether a person has been vaccinated against the COVID-19, has recovered from the virus, or has recently obtained a negative test result.

According to the EU Parliament, the Regulation on EU COVID-19 Passport will be in place for 12 months, starting on July 1. However, the passport will not become a precondition for travel and will not be considered a travel document.

In a bid to make testing more affordable and widely accessible, the EU Commission decided to make available €100 million from the Emergency Support Instrument. The funding will allow the Member States to purchase tests for the purpose of issuing COVID-19 passports as well as offer easily accessible and free of charge tests for EU citizens.

At the same time, the Parliament has urged the Member States not to impose additional restrictions if they are not necessary. Based on the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) data, MEPs suggested that the Member States should keep the Commission and the other Member States informed on the newly imposed measures at least 48 hours in advance.

Earlier today, it was reported that Europe’s travel and tourism sector had welcomed the adoption of the Regulation on EU Digital COVID Passport while making a call to the Member States to ensure swift implementation before July.

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