Covid: UE proposes a Digital Certificate to easy travel

After welcoming the arrival of Covid vaccines, on March 17 the European Commission proposed a Digital Green Certificate with the aim of simplifying free movement inside the European member states during the current pandemic. 

“The Digital Green Certificate – confirms Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency – offers an EU-wide solution to ensure that EU citizens benefit from a harmonised digital tool to support free movement in the EU. This is a good message in support of recovery. Our key objectives are to offer an easy to use, non-discriminatory and secure tool that fully respects data protection. And we continue working towards international convergence with other partners”. 

The legislative proposal of the European Commission provides the issue of a green certificate which will be usable, and totally free of charge, in digital or paper format. In addition to the digital signature, the document will also include a QR code capable of guaranteeing its security and authenticity. The pass will be available both in the language of the issuing Member State and in English and will able to contain three different certificates inside: the one relating the vaccination against Covi-19; the one regarding the negative or positive tests and the certificate attesting the recovery from Covid-19. 

The press release published by the Commission underlines the fact that the document will not give rise to any kind of discrimination as even non-vaccinated people will benefit from this green certificate. Moreover, the green pass will only contain essential information such as name, date of birth, date of issuance and relevant vaccine/tests/recovery data and will include a unique identifier of the certificate. 

The digital green certificate will be valid in all Member States and will also be available in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. 

For the project to be ready before the summer, the proposal will first have to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. The Commission underlines that the digital certificate will be a temporary measure, until the WHO will declare the end of the current health emergency. 

“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. 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”, said Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders. 

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