Way is Cleared for EU Digital Covid Certificate Across all Member States
The legislative process to make the long-awaited EU Digital Covid Certificate a reality concluded today as the Presidents of the three EU institutions, the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission attended the official signing ceremony for the Regulation of the Certificate, marking the end of the legislative process.
13 Member States have already started to use the Digital Certificate and it will be available for use in all member states from July 1st.
The aim of the Digital COVID Certificate is to facilitate safe and free movement inside the EU while exempting holders who have had vaccines, have undertaken Covid testing or have recovered from Covid, from restrictions like quarantine.
The Digital Certificate 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
A statement from the European Commission said, ‘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.’
The Commission has committed to mobilising €100 million under the Emergency Support Instrument to support Member States in providing affordable tests.
Speaking at the official signing ceremony for the Regulation, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen said, ‘This Certificate is a symbol of an open and digital Europe. We developed this Certificate in record time. It will make travel in our Union easier. And it will give Europeans back the freedoms they value and cherish so much. The European Certificate is safe, it is secure and it is for free. Citizens who are vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19, or have a negative test result will have the right to receive it. And it must be recognised everywhere within the European Union.’
The Regulation was agreed between the EU institutions in a record 62 days. On 17 March 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 20 May, co-legislators reached a provisional agreement. On 1 June, 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 1 July, with a phasing-in period of six weeks for the issuance of certificates for those Member States that need additional time.