The European Commission is today passed a legislative proposal establishing a common framework for a digital green certificate, as well as an additional proposal to ensure that a digital green certificate is issued to third-country nationals residing in Member States or Schengen associated countries and visitors entitled to travel to other Member States.
Digital green certificates are digital evidence proving that their carrier has been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, has recovered from it, or has had negative test results. Apart from possible uses in healthcare, the certificate also serves as a safe free movement of citizens of one European Union country to another.
Of course, the digital green certificate has no meaning if it is not accepted by EU countries. That is why the European Commission announced that it would work closely with members of the European Union. Namely, cooperation is needed in order to find technical solutions for the use of certificates as soon as possible, then that the authenticity of certificates can be verified in a safe way throughout the EU and finally to enable mutual recognition of certificates and certificates throughout the European Union. . Member States remain responsible for deciding which public health restrictions for passengers can be lifted, but they will have to apply in the same way to passengers holding a digital green certificate.
Digital green certificates will meet data protection, security and privacy requirements. To make the confirmations come to life by summer, EU member states must speed up preparations and their introduction. The European Commission will help develop a legal solution for a common framework for vaccination, testing and recovery certificates to facilitate free movement within the EU. Member States are expected rapid establishment of technical solutions at the national level. In this way, certificates could be issued and verified in a secure manner anywhere in the European Union.
Digital green certificates should be established on the basis of guidelines for interoperability, which define common data sets and unique identifiers for vaccination certificates, and a common data set for test results, already agreed by Member States.
Certificates will be issued in digital or paper form. Both versions will have a QR code containing the necessary basic information and a digital signature to ensure that the certificate is authentic. Certificates shall be made available free of charge in the official language or languages of the issuing Member State and in English.
All persons, vaccinated and unvaccinated, should be able to use digital green certificates when traveling within the EU. In order to prevent discrimination against non-vaccinated persons, the Commission proposes not only the issuance of an interoperable vaccination certificate but also a certificate of testing for COVID-19 and a certificate for those who have survived COVID-19.
The same right for passengers with a digital green certificate, if Member States accept proof of vaccination to lift certain public health restrictions such as testing or quarantine, they would be required to accept vaccination certificates issued under the digital green certificate system under the same conditions. That would the obligation was limited to vaccines authorized for placing on the market in the EU, but Member States may decide to accept other vaccines.
The digital green certificate will be valid in all EU Member States, and will be available to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.. The digital green certificate should be issued to EU citizens and their family members, regardless of their nationality. It should also be issued to third-country nationals residing in the EU and visitors entitled to travel to other Member States.
Digital green certificate system it is a temporary measure. It will be suspended after the World Health Organization declare an end to the extraordinary public health danger caused by the COVID-19 disease pandemic.
In order for the proposal to be ready before the summer, it needs to be adopted quickly by the European Parliament and the Council. Simultaneously, Member States must apply a reliability framework and technical standards, agreed within the e-health network, to ensure the timely introduction of digital green certificates, their interoperability and full compliance with personal data protection. The goal is complete the technical work and proposal in the coming months.