The European Commission on Wednesday proposed to create a ‘Digital Green Certificate’ that would allow EU residents to travel freely across the 27-nation bloc by the summer as long as they have been vaccinated, tested negative for Covid-19 or recovered from the disease.
“With the Digital Green Certificate, we are taking a European approach to ensure EU citizens and their family members can travel safely and with minimum restrictions this summer,” said Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders.
"The Digital Green Certificate will not be a pre-condition to free movement and it will not discriminate in any way. A common EU-approach will not only help us to gradually restore free movement within the EU and avoid fragmentation. It is also a chance to influence global standards and lead by example based on our European values like data protection," he added.
But several EU members, including France, are concerned the plan would discriminate against vast numbers who have not yet had a coronavirus vaccine.
The Digital Green Pass should facilitate Europeans‘ lives.
The aim is to gradually enable them to move safely in the European Union or abroad - for work or tourism.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) March 1, 2021
The 'Digital Green Certificate' will be free of charge, bilingual, interoperable, secure, non-discriminatory and available in digital and physical format via QR code.
Its goal will be to facilitate "safe and free movement" inside the EU during the pandemic.
It will comprise of three distinct certificates:
- Vaccination certificates, stating brand of the vaccine used, data and place of inoculation and number of doses administered.
- Negative test certificates (either a NAAT/RT-PCR test or a rapid antigen test). Self-tests will be excluded for the time being.
- Medical certificates for people who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 180 days.
To be ready in time for the summer, the proposal will have to go through a faster-than-usual adoption process in both the European Parliament and the Council.
The executive urged member states to "implement the trust framework and technical standards, agreed in the eHealth network, to ensure timely implementation of the Digital Green Certificate, their interoperability and full compliance with personal data protection."
It should be noted that the Digital Green Certificate system is a temporary measure. It will be suspended once the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the end of the COVID-19 international health emergency.
Europe is moving forward with our proposal. The introduction of a Digital Green Certificate is on track for implementation. This is a decision that will significantly facilitate the movement of citizens and will help boost tourism and the economies that rely heavily on it. https://t.co/VgLxrxvnvn
— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) March 17, 2021
The certificate which was originally proposed by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, aims to open a fast lane for travel, without the restrictions caused by rapid tests and mandatory quarantine.