After months of deliberations and legislation, the EU Digital Covid Certificate took off on Monday, according to a press release by the Commission.
Member States will not be permitted to restrict travel to those holding the certificate, except under very specific conditions (travel to an especially contagious zone).
Separately, European Union countries agreed on Friday to an easing of travel restrictions over summer that will allow fully vaccinated tourists to avoid tests or quarantines and broaden the list of EU regions from which it is safe to travel.
“Today, the Presidents of the three EU institutions, the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission attended the official signing ceremony for the Regulation on the EU Digital Covid Certificate, marking the end of the legislative process.”
The aim of the EU Digital Covid Certificate is to facilitate safe and free movement inside the EU during the pandemic. All Europeans have the right to free movement, also without the certificate, but the certificate will facilitate travel, exempting holders from restrictions like quarantine, according to the statement.
“The EU Digital COVID Certificate will be accessible for everyone and it will:
- cover Covid-19 vaccination, test and recovery;
- be free of charge and available in all EU languages;
- be available in a digital and paper-based format;
- be secure and include a digitally signed QR code;
Member States shall refrain from imposing additional travel restrictions on the holders of an EU Digital Covid Certificate, unless they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health.
On this occasion European Parliament President David Sassoli and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa said:
“The EU Digital COVID Certificate is a symbol of what Europe stands for. Of a Europe that does not falter when put to the test. A Europe that unites and grows when faced with challenges. Our Union showed again that we work best when we work together. The EU Digital COVID Certificate Regulation was agreed between our institutions in the record time of 62 days. While we worked through the legislative process, we also built the technical backbone of the system, the EU gateway, which is live since 1 June.”