Covid-19: EU countries agree on technical specifications of Digital Green Certificate

One month after the European Commission’s proposal for a Digital Green Certificate, representatives in the eHealth Network agreed on guidelines describing the main technical specifications for the implementation of the system, the Commission said on April 22.

This is a crucial step for the establishment of the necessary infrastructure at EU level, the Commission said.

The European Commission set out on March 17 its proposal for the creation of a Digital Green Certificate to facilitate safe free movement inside the European Union during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Digital Green Certificate will be a proof that a person has been vaccinated against Covid-19, received a negative test result or recovered from Covid-19.

“In parallel member states are encouraged to swiftly roll out the needed technical solutions at national level,” the Commission’s April 22 statement said.

“It is of utmost importance to advance the work on the technical implementation, in parallel to the ongoing legislative process, to ensure a roll-out of Digital Green Certificates across the EU by June 2021.”

The agreed technical specification covers data structure and encoding mechanisms, including the QR code, which will ensure that all certificates, whether digital, or on paper, can be read and verified across the EU.

The guidelines also describe the EU gateway.

Set up by the Commission, it will allow the sharing of electronic signature keys so that the authenticity of Digital Green Certificates can be verified across the EU.

No personal data of certificate holders will pass through the gateway, as this is not necessary for the verification.

Finally, the guidelines describe reference implementations for software to issue Digital Green Certificates; a reference app to verify certificates; and a template for a wallet app for citizens to store them.

While it will be for EU countries to set up these systems at national level, the reference implementations will help speed up deployment as member states will be able to build on them, the Commission said.

In order to have Digital Green Certificates rolled out in June, the technical implementation has to advance in parallel to the legislative process.

The next step on the technical side is now the set-up of national infrastructure, the roll-out of national solutions for issuing, verifying and storing Digital Green Certificates, and the set-up of the EU gateway, the Commission said.

After a pilot phase in May, the EU gateway should be ready as of June for member states to connect, it said.

Related story:

Covid-19: European Commission proposes a Digital Green Certificate

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The Sofia Globe staff

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