Digital proof will make travelling easier

IK – 05/2021

The EC presented a proposal for a regulation covering a "digital green certificate"[2021/0068 (COD)] that will make free movement within the EU easier as far back as mid-March, 2021. On May 20, 2021, the EU member states as well as the European Parliament agreed upon the details for a pan-European certificate that will be called the "digital EU COVID certificate” in the future.  

By using this digital certificate in the form of a QR code, EU citizens will then be able to provide proof of coronavirus vaccinations, negative coronavirus tests and that they have survived COVID-19 type illnesses. This is a major step towards making travel within the EU much easier in the near future. The "EU COVID digital certificate" will be valid for 12 months initially.

National restrictions were the sticking point

Various points were discussed intensively during the run-up to the agreement. For example, there was a dispute over whether and to what extent EU countries should be able to set up their own travel restrictions as well as the measures for easing them. The current agreement provides for no interference with the sovereignty of the member states, but further restrictions such as quarantining for those who tested negative, have been vaccinated or cured, should only be introduced if the infection situation so requires it.

Access to free Covid-19 tests

Furthermore, the European Parliament also called for a European solution regarding free testing. This should provide an alternative for non-vaccinated or healthy persons and avoid any discrimination. However, the European Parliament was not able to get its way with this. The compromise only provides for "affordable" testing opportunities. The EC pledged to make at least 100 million euros available for purchasing rapid Covid-19 test kits.

Recognition of vaccines

The precise start date is still open

With the agreement in Brussels, EU countries will have an interface on which they can base their national digital certificates. The system will be introduced by the end of June 2021. However, it is still unclear precisely when the European certificate will be implemented in each one of the member states. They will all be given a 6-week transition period.