The leaders of the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission have officially signed the regulation on the EU Digital COVID Certificate, marking the end of the legislative process.
David Sassoli, president of the EU Parliament, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the Council of the EU and Prime Minister António Costa, president of the European Commission 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 leaders continued: “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 June 1.”
And they pointed out: “We can be proud of this great achievement. The Europe that we all know and that we all want back is a Europe without barriers. The EU Certificate will again enable citizens to enjoy this most tangible and cherished of EU rights – the right to free movement. Signed into law today, it will enable us to travel more safely this summer. Today we reaffirm together that an open Europe prevails.”
EU Digital COVID Certificate
The aim of the EU Digital COVID Certificate is to facilitate safe and free movement inside the EU during the COVID-19 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.
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.
In addition, the Commission committed to mobilizing €100 million under the Emergency Support Instrument to support Member States in providing affordable tests.
The Regulation will apply for 12 months as of July 1, 2021.
A Little Background
On March 17, 2021, the European Commission presented a proposal to create an EU COVID Certificate to facilitate the safe free movement of citizens within the EU during the pandemic. On May 20, co-legislators reached a provisional agreement.
On June 1, the technical backbone of the systems, the EU gateway, went live. The gateway allows the verification of the security features contained in the QR codes.
Following the official signature today, the Regulation will enter into application on July 1, with a phasing-in period of six weeks for the issuance of certificates for those Member States that need additional time.
Already, 13 Member States have started to issue EU Digital COVID Certificates.