The European Parliament already has a negotiating position on the certificate proposal to reaffirm the right to freedom of movement in Europe during the pandemic. MEPs agreed that the new “EU Covid-19 Certificate”, instead of the Digital Green Certificate, as proposed by the European Commission, will be limited to twelve months.
The document, which may be issued in digital or paper format, will indicate that the person has been vaccinated against the coronavirus, has a recent negative test or has passed the disease. In no case can the Covid-19 certificate be used as a travel document or become a necessary condition for free movement, the MEPs emphasize.
The proposal that regulates the certificate for EU nationals went ahead with 540 votes in favor, 119 against and 31 abstentions, while the one focused on third-country nationals received 540 favorable votes, 80 against and 70 abstentions. The vote took place last week.
Both the European Parliament and the Council are now ready to start negotiations. The objective is to reach an agreement before the start of the summer tourist season.
Europe’s aviation, travel and tourism sectors welcome the European Parliament’s vote on the proposed EU Digital Green Certificate Regulation, which launches trilogue negotiations between Parliament, Council and the European Commission. Quick action and alignment between the institutions is now essential to get the certificates operational in June and to ensure reciprocity with systems outside the EU.
Common, interoperable, secure and GDPR compliant health certificates represent an essential tool to facilitate free movement of people within the EU and reopening travel in a safe and responsible way by easing and ultimately lifting current travel restrictions.
Holders of the EU Covid-19 certificate should not be subject to additional travel restrictions, such as quarantine, self-isolation or testing, according to the European Parliament. MEPs also claim that, to avoid discrimination against the unvaccinated and for economic reasons, countries must ensure “universal, accessible, timely and free test possibilities.”
Parliament wants to ensure that the European certificate is compatible with other initiatives at national level, that in any case they must respect the same legislative framework.
Member States must accept vaccination certificates issued in other EU countries for people inoculated with vaccines authorized for use in the Union by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), MEPs point out. It will be up to each Member State to decide whether they also accept vaccination certificates from other European countries for vaccines listed by the World Health Organization for emergency use.