MEPs: EU Covid-19 certificate must facilitate free movement without discrimination
The European Parliament adopted on April 29 its negotiating position on the proposal for a certificate to reaffirm the right to free movement in Europe during the Covid-19 pandemic, it said in a statement.
MEPs agreed that the new “EU Covid-19 certificate” – a name they prefer to “Digital Green Certificate”, as proposed by the Commission – should be in place for 12 months and not longer.
The document, which may be in digital or paper format, will attest that a person has been vaccinated against coronavirus or, alternatively, that they have a recent negative test result or have recovered from the infection.
However, EU Covid-19 certificates will neither serve as travel document nor become a precondition to exercise the right to free movement, say MEPs.
The legislative proposal covering EU nationals was approved with 540 votes to 119 and 31 abstentions, while the one on third-country (meaning, non-EU) nationals passed with 540 votes to 80 and 70 abstentions.
The vote took place on April 28, with results announced on Thursday morning. Both the European Parliament and European Council are now ready to begin negotiations. The aim is to reach an agreement ahead of the summer tourist season.
Holders of an EU Covid-19 certificate should not be subject to additional travel restrictions, such as quarantine, self-isolation or testing, according to the European Parliament.
MEPs also emphasise that, in order to avoid discrimination against those not vaccinated and for economic reasons, EU countries should “ensure universal, accessible, timely and free of charge testing”.
The European Parliament wants to ensure that the EU certificate works alongside any initiative set up by the member states, which should also respect the same common legal framework.
Member states must accept vaccination certificates issued in other member states for persons inoculated with a vaccine authorised for use in the EU by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) (currently Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen), MEPs say.
It will be up to the member states to decide whether they also accept vaccination certificates issued in other member states for vaccines listed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for emergency use.
The certificates will be verified to prevent fraud and forgery, as will the authenticity of the electronic seals included in the document.
Personal data obtained from the certificates cannot be stored in destination member states and there will be no central database established at EU level.
The list of entities that will process and receive data will be public so that citizens can exercise their data protection rights under the General Data Protection Regulation, the European Parliament said.
(Archive photo: EC Audiovisual Service)
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