All Member States will accept a certificate proving that a person has been vaccinated, has a negative test result or has contracted COVID-19, and the "covid passport" should apply from 1 July 2021, for a period of 12 months - is the main conclusion of the EU Parliament where MPs today completed work on a legislative package on the EU's digital certificate on COVID that will facilitate travel within the Union and contribute to economic recovery.
Also, the use of affordable and affordable testing is encouraged: € 100 million will be provided for the purchase of tests.
The certificate will be issued free of charge by the national authorities and will be available in digital and paper form and will contain a QR code.
"Parliament today set the pace for the re-establishment of free movement and a fully functioning Schengen area as we continue to fight the pandemic. On July 1, we are launching an EU digital certificate on COVID that will ensure safe and coordinated travel this summer. EU Member States are encouraged to refrain from imposing additional restrictions, unless strictly necessary and proportionate, and it is encouraging that some already issue such a certificate.", Said Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Chairman of the Committee on Civil Liberties and Rapporteur (S&D, Spain)
In practice it will be three different certificates - the document will serve as confirmation that the person has been vaccinated, that he or she has a new negative test result or that he or she has recovered from COVID-19. The EU Common Framework will ensure the interoperability and verifiability of certificates throughout the Union and prevent their forgery and fraud.
The system will start to be applied on July 1, 2021 for a period of 12 months. The certificate will not be a prerequisite for free movement and will not be considered a travel document, which is important to emphasize.
Croatia was the first to introduce covid passports
As we know, Croatia was the first to implement covid passports, and so far over 40.000 have been issued. At the border crossings, everything works great, so there are no delays due to checking them. Also, foreign tourists are still recommended to fill in the form, ie registration via the Enter Croatia page, in order to cross the border faster, and on which there is a special marked yellow bar for guests who registered via Enter Croatia.
Additional travel restrictions only in justified cases
During the interinstitutional negotiations, Members secured an agreement that Member States would not be able to impose additional travel restrictions on certificate holders, such as quarantine, self-isolation or testing, "unless they are proportionate and necessary to protect public health". In doing so, scientific evidence "including epidemiological data published by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)" will have to be taken into account. The other Member States and the Commission shall, if possible, be notified of the measures 48 hours in advance and the public 24 hours in advance.
Convenient and affordable testing
Member States are encouraged to ensure affordable and widely available testing. At the request of Parliament, the Commission undertook to mobilize EUR 100 million within the Instrument for Emergency Support within the Union in order to allow Member States to buy tests for the purpose of issuing an EU digital certificate on COVID.
All Member States must accept the vaccination certificates of other Member States which it has approved European Medicines Agency (EMA). Member States will also decide whether to accept certificates for vaccines approved under national authorization procedures or for vaccines listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use.
Data protection measures
All personal data must be processed in accordance with General Data Protection Regulation. Certificates will be verified offline and without the storage of personal data.
The last step
Finally, as we stated at the outset, the Council needs to formally accept the text which will then be published in the Official Journal in order to enter into force on 1 July 2021.