The European Commission is proposing that the mandated use of the EU Digital Covid Certificate be extended for another year, according to a press release published by the Commission.
The extension would make the mandated use of the certificate valid until 30 June 2023, or until they extend it again.
The Commission cites concerns over not being able to determine the impact of Covid-19 throughout 2022, and a desire to improve the certificate as their reasoning for extending its validity.
“We cannot predict how the pandemic will evolve, but we can make sure that citizens continue to benefit from a certificate that works and is accepted wherever they go. Without this extension, we risk having many divergent national systems, and all the confusion and obstacles that this would cause. The EU Digital COVID Certificate has proven an effective tool to facilitate safe and free travel. While I am looking forward to the day when it is no longer needed, but in the meantime it will enable us to move around safely in Europe,” said Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice.
There have also been some changes proposed to be made to the certificates, including:
- Including high-quality laboratory-based antigen tests among those for which a certificate can be issued. Presently antigen tests cannot be used to get a Covid certificate.
- Ensuring the vaccination certificate contains the correct overall number of vaccine doses for any Member State, instead of just the one that is issuing the certificate.
- Allowing people participating in vaccine clinical trials to get the certificate as well.
Other recent amendments to the certificates include that on 25 January 2022, the Council agreed to stop recommending that restrictions be put on holders of the certificates when travelling in the EU.
The original date for the expiration of the EU Digital Covid Certificate was supposed to be 30 June 2022. At the time, the Commission said that they only wanted the certificate to be used for one year to prevent it from becoming a precondition for travel to Europe and within the Schengen Area.
Further, the original intent was to “facilitate safe free movement” in the Schengen Area, which was already supposed to have freedom of movement.
As predicted by Schengen-Visa.com, however, the certificates have been proposed to be extended for another year, which will likely pass, and they will likely be extended at least one more time for after the new 2023 expiration date.
Additionally, The Commission claims that the certificates have been embraced by the citizens of Europe and made their lives easier. In reality, the certificates have just become a semi-permanent precondition to the right to freedom of movement in the Schengen Area, which is a right that was taken away by the governments of Europe to begin with.
“The EU Digital COVID Certificate has facilitated safe free movement and travel in times of great uncertainty. Our citizens have embraced it and it has made their lives easier,” said Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.