The heads of the European Parliament, Commission, and Council have officially signed their agreements on the EU Digital Covid-19 Certificate, according to an announcement published by the Commission.
The signing took place at a signing ceremony, and signals the end of the legislative process for the certificate.
The regulation for the certificate will apply for 12 months, starting on 1 July 2021.
Under the framework negotiated for the certificate, the following conditions have been set:
- The EU Digital Covid-19 Certificate will be available for everyone.
- The certificate will be free of charge and available in all EU languages.
- Certificates will be available in a paper or digital format.
- All certificates will be secure and include an individualized and digitally signed QR code.
In addition, Member States shall refrain from imposing additional travel restrictions on holders of the certificate, “unless they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health.”
Finally, the Commission committed in the framework to mobilizing €100 million under the Emergency Support Instrument to help Member States provide affordable Covid-19 tests.
During the legislative process, the true core of the certificate, called the Gateway, has been developed. The Gateway, which stores and allows for verification of the data necessary for the certificates, has been active since 1 June 2021.
There have been several Member States adopt the system since 1 June and began using it early, including Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia, and Poland.
All Member States are expected to adopt the framework and begin issuing/accepting the certificates by 1 July 2021.
The certificate comes as part of the idea that more verification measures are needed to restore the right to freedom of movement within the Schengen Area and EU.
“We can be proud of this great achievement. The Europe that we all know and that we all want back is a Europe without barriers. The EU Certificate will again enable citizens to enjoy this most tangible and cherished of EU rights – the right to free movement. Signed into law today, it will enable us to travel more safely this summer. Today we reaffirm together that an open Europe prevails,” said Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonia Acosta.
It has not yet been reported how well the certificates are working for travelers or Member States.