European Parliament Approves EU COVID-19 Certificate for Travel

On Thursday morning, it was announced that the European Parliament passed a motion in favour of a Commission proposal for the Digital Green Certificate, now renamed the EU COVID-19 Certificate.

540 MEPs voted in favour of the proposal, while 119 voted against, and a further 31 abstained from the vote. This digital certificate aims to ensure that one of the 4 freedoms of the EU, that of free movement of persons, is done in a safe and secure manner.

The Commission proposal for this vaccine passport addresses persons who were fully vaccinated, others who possess a negative COVID-19 test result and even people who have contracted the virus in the past, which gives them an immunity to the virus. The EU COVID-19 Certificate is expected to be introduced in EU countries next June, and it can be in a digital or paper format. It will be secured by characteristics such as a QR code, thereby preventing attempts of forgery or fraud.

In addition, this certificate will be an inclusive one since those European citizens who are not able to or do not want to get vaccinated will still be able to use it by showing a negative test result prior to travelling, as it will be mentioned in the certificate as well. Furthermore, this certificate will neither serve as an official travel document nor become a precondition to exercise the right to free movement, according to MEPs.

Those in possession of the EU COVID-19 Certificate are not to be liable to additional travel restrictions, meaning self-isolation, quarantine or testing, according to the European Parliament. It was also stressed that in order to be inclusive to those not vaccinated and for economic reasons, EU member states should guarantee “universal, accessible, timely and free of charge testing”.

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