The plenary session of the European Parliament has given the green light to the launch of the EU Covid Digital Certificate With which European tourists will be able to move without restrictions within the community space from July 1, by being able to prove with this document that they have been vaccinated, have overcome the coronavirus or have given negative in a diagnostic test in the hours before the trip .
Is about a free certificate, which will be issued in digital or physical format and with the information at least in the language of the issuing country and in English, which harmonizes the systems of each Member State and offers basic information on the medical situation of its holder with respect to the coronavirus, but avoids the exchange of protected data and guarantees the veracity of the information collected.
Furthermore, the EU institutions have made it clear in the negotiation process that the certificate should not be understood in any case as a kind of passport or travel document because it does not interfere with the right to free movement, which assists all Europeans, whether or not they have the new European document.
Its launch in the whole of the European Union is announced for July 1, although there are already about a dozen countries that deliver European certificates to their vaccinated citizens and the Justice Commissioner, Didier Reynders, urged the rest on Tuesday to start distribute them “now” to avoid a “big bang” in July if there is excessive demand or last minute technical problems arise.
The Twenty-seven have pledged not to impose “additional restrictions” on the travelers who have this certificate, which means that they will be exempt from the obligation to comply with quarantines or carry out a new test upon arrival at the travel destination.
However, national governments have reserved the right to activate an “emergency brake” with which they can reintroduce restrictions in emergencies, for example, if the person travels from a very high incidence area or where new dangerous variants have been detected.
In this case, the Member State that decides to reintroduce measures must do so in a proportionate and limited manner, following the scientific criteria and epidemiological data of the European Center for Disease Prevention (ECDC) and prior notification to the European Commission, its partners to the EU and citizens.
The European Parliament, which has endorsed this instrument with a wide majority of 546 votes in favor, 93 against and 51 abstentions, tried unsuccessfully during negotiations with member states to make the diagnostic tests linked to the certificate free, to avoid discrimination between citizens who are vaccinated free of charge and those who have to pay a PCR to be able to travel.
Finally, the countries will have to make the tests “affordable” and easy to obtain and the European Commission will have to mobilize 100 million euros from the Urgent Assistance Instrument so that the Member States can buy tests and thus reduce their cost.
EU countries will be obliged to accept vaccination certificates issued in other member states for vaccines authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), although they will be free to accept also those issued for authorized vaccines according to national procedures or on the World Health Organization (WHO) list for use in emergencies.
After the vote in favor in the plenary session of the European Parliament, meeting in Strasbourg (France) for the first time since the pandemic was declared in Europe, the certificate must still meet the formal adoption by the Council throughout this week, with the aim that its completion will be signed next Monday.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism