EU COVID-19 Travel Certificate Approved by European Parliament
An EU COVID-19 Travel Certificate was approved by the European Parliament on Thursday. This document, which is set to be made available in both digital and paper format, will indicate whether an individual has been inoculated against the novel coronavirus, had a recent negative tests, or has recovered from the virus.
The idea behind the introduction of the COVID-19 Travel Certificate is to restore freedom of movement within the European Union – something which had to be put on hold in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus. Holders of the Certificate will not be required to quarantine, self-isolate, or be tested upon arrival to another EU country.
The vote passed in the European Parliament by a majority of 540 votes, with MEPs stressing that the introduction of this document should be coupled with universal, accessible, timely, and free of charge testing so as to avoid the certificate contributing to discriminatory practices. Furthermore, the COVID-19 Travel Certificate system should only be in place for a maximum period of 12 months, and it should under no circumstance serve as a travel document, or become a precondition for travelling.
As expressed by Juan Fernando Lopez Aquilar, Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee and rapporteur, “we need to put in place the EU COVID-19 Certificate to re-establish people’s confidence in Schengen while we continue to fight against the pandemic. Member states must co-ordinate their response in a safe manner and ensure the free movement of citizens within the European Union”.
Following this vote, the European Parliament is now set to start negotiations with the Council in order to establish a concrete framework in time for the summer months. A similar certificate will also be made available for nationals of third countries, should they wish to travel to the European Union.