Monday, May 24, 2021

EU Citizens Can Start Travelling With COVID-19 Certificates From July 1, the Council Says

Just one more step is now left until the EU Digital COVID Certificate procedures are completed within the European Union after on May 21, the Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) unanimously showed their support for the agreement previously reached between the Council and the European Parliament on May 20.

In order for the procedures to be completed, now the Council will send a letter to the European Parliament, officially communicating the support of the Coreper on the agreement for the establishment of the certificate, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

The European Parliament is then expected to vote its first reading position at its plenary session on June 7-10. Afterwards, the Council will officially adopt the regulations which will have to be signed by the Council and the European Parliament,” the Council of the EU notes in a press release.

After the legislation is signed into effect, the regulations will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and apply from July 1.

Commenting on the certificate, the Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa said that the certificate is an important step towards a more normal, freer and safer life during the pandemic. According to him, the certificate will facilitate the free movement of all Europeans, starting this summer.

Member states will need to remain vigilant with regard to the epidemiological situation, so that movement in the EU is safe, but at the same time our societies and economies can gradually recover,” he, however, notes.

The whole EU hopes that the COVID Travel Certificate will facilitate safe and free movement amid the pandemic by proving that the holder has either taken the vaccine against the virus, has recovered recently from it, or has tested negative within the timeframe required by the destination Member State.

The certificate, which will be in use by July 1, will be available in digital and paper format, contain a QR code and be issued free of charge. It is not a precondition for exercising free movement rights, and it is not a travel document,” the press release notes.

The Member States are advised to offer travellers access to affordable COVID-19 tests, for which purpose an amount of €100 million has been allocated under the Emergency Support Instrument. At the same time, additional funding of over €100 million could be mobilised for the purchase of tests, yet, such a budget has to be approved by the budgetary authorities.

While it remains up to the national governments of the Member States to decide whether travellers holding these certificates will have to quarantine or undergo additional testing, they are advised to refrain from imposing such measures unless they are necessary to safeguard public health.

When imposing such additional measures, the Member States are obliged to inform the Commission at least 48 hours in advance, while at the same time laying out the reasons behind these restrictions, as well as their duration.



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