Friday, May 21, 2021

EU Parliament & Council Reach Agreement to Make Sure COVID-19 Travel Certificate is Launched in June

The negotiators of the European Parliament and Council have reached a provisional agreement regarding the EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate, ensuring that the certificate is well on track to be ready by the end of June.

In a press release issued by the EU Parliament, it was revealed that the certificate will be available in digital and paper format, reports.

The certificate will provide information on whether a person has been vaccinated against the Coronavirus, has recovered from the virus, or has a recent negative test result. Thus, for practical purposes, there will be three separate certificates.

According to the same press release, the regulation on the EU digital COVID Certificate is anticipated to be effective for 12 months. However, the certificate will not be a precondition for travel and, at the same time, will not be considered as a travel document.

“We are delivering on our commitment to have the EU Digital COVID Certificate up and running before the summer. European citizens are looking forward to travelling again, and today’s agreement means they will be able to do so safely very soon,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, welcoming the swift progress.

Moreover, a common EU framework will permit Member States to issue certificates that will be recognised in other EU countries.

In order to make affordable and accessible testing more available, the EU Commission decided to mobilise at least €100 million in line with the Emergency Support Instrument for the purchase of COVID-19 tests with the purpose of supporting the Member States in providing affordable tests. Most of all, this should benefit persons who cross the border frequently or daily.

The Parliament urges the Member States not to impose additional travel restrictions unless they are necessary and in proportion with safeguarding public health.

MEPs also suggest that epidemiological figures by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) should be taken into consideration and that the newly imposed measures should be reported to the Commission and the other Member States at least 48 hours in advance.

Additionally, Member States are required to accept vaccination certificates issued in other states as long as the vaccines are approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

It was also revealed that the certificates will be verified in order to prevent forgery and fraud through the authenticity of electronic seals that will be included in the document. No central database will be set up at the EU level, and personal data gathered from the certificates is not allowed to be stored in destination Member States.

Therefore, the list of entities processing and receiving the data will be public in order for the citizens’ data to be protected under the General Data Protection Regulation.

The agreement will now have to be formally adopted by the Council and the Parliament, whereas the regulation will start being effective on July 1.

Earlier this month, the Commission proposed that the Member States open their borders for travellers of third countries too, provided that they have been vaccinated.

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