Published on : Wednesday, May 26, 2021
The European Union has decided to complete support for launching a digital COVID-19 certificate. The certificate is being introduced to facilitate safe and free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing proof that a person has either been vaccinated against the virus, has received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19.
The certificate is likely to be in use by July 1, and will be available in digital and paper format, contain a QR code and be issued free of charge. Officials have mentioned that that the tool is not a precondition for exercising free movement rights and it is not a travel document. The legal framework for the certificate consists of two legislative proposals that were tabled by the European Commission in March.
The first proposal concerns EU citizens and their family members and the second concerns third-country nationals staying or residing legally in the Schengen area. Under the proposals it will be possible to use the certificate across all EU member states, as well as in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The certificate will also be open to initiatives being developed globally.
Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa said in a statement that the certificate is an important step towards a more normal, freer and safer life during the pandemic. He mentioned that it will facilitate the free movement of all Europeans, starting this summer. Virginia Messina, Senior Vice President, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), added that WTTC has also decided to welcome the agreement reached on the EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate, which has now been given the green light by all member states.
She mentioned that the new certificate could be the key to unlocking international travel and save thousands of businesses and millions of jobs across Europe and beyond. She said that it will see all 27 member states welcoming vaccinated travellers and those with proof of a negative test or a positive antibody test in time for the peak summer season, which will provide a massive and much-needed boost to economies.
She also called upon all member states to have the certificate up and running by July 1 with no extra restrictions. She also applauded the European Commission for its incredible efforts in launching the major initiative, which could be the driving force behind the resurrection of tourism. She shared that for more than a year, the tourism sector has suffered like never before, with 62 million people around the world losing their jobs and said that the new initiative will aid the restoration of safe international travel.