Parliament: EU Covid-19 Certificate Must Facilitate Free Movement Without Discrimination

The European Parliament has announced their negotiating position regarding certificates needed for travel in relation to Covid-19, according to an announcement published by the Parliament.

According to the announcement, the Parliament will be negotiating in favor of the new ‘EU Covid-19 Certificate’ instead of the ‘EU Digital Green Certificate’ proposed by the European Commission.

The ‘EU-Covid-19 Certificate’ is intended to be in-place for no longer than 12 months before its abolishment, according to the announcement.

“MEPs agreed that the new ‘EU COVID-19 certificate’ – instead of Digital Green Certificate, as proposed by the Commission – should be in place for 12 months and not longer,” the announcement reads.

Similar to the ‘Digital Green Certificate,’ travelers will need to present proof of vaccination against Covid-19 or proof that they have tested negative within three days of arrival.

However, the Parliament is proposing that the document, which can be in paper or digital form, will not be a travel document or become a precondition for the right to exercise freedom of movement.

“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 announcement reads.

One of the largest concerns regarding the ‘Digital Green Certificate’ is that it could lead to discrimination. In addition, it could become a permanent fixture as a travel document and may never be abolished. The Parliament aims to fix these problems in the Commission’s proposals for a Covid-19 travel certificate.

The Parliament is proposing that there will be no additional travel restrictions added against travelers to the EU and Schengen Area. This includes quarantines, isolation, or additional testing. If a person has already obtained the ‘EU Covid-19 Certificate,’ they will not be subject to any of the aforementioned requirements if the motion passes. In addition, Covid-19 tests will be free as part of the Parliament’s motion.

The ‘EU Covid-19 Certificate’ will also be designed to be compatible with national initiatives of individual Member States, will include data protection safeguards, and affordable vaccines will be allocated globally, according to the announcement.

The Parliament’s introduction of the new certificate serves as a way to combat a major loss of confidence in the EU and Schengen Area worldwide. It is also intended to make Member States coordinate with each other, which is something that has still not happened despite more than 12 months of authorities calling for them to do so.

“We need to put in place the EU COVID-19 Certificate to re-establish people’s confidence in Schengen while we continue to fight against the pandemic. Member states must coordinate their response in a safe manner and ensure the free movement of citizens within the EU. Vaccines and tests must be accessible and free for all citizens. Member states should not introduce further restrictions once the certificate is in force,” said Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee, Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar.

A date for the actual introduction of the ‘EU Covid-19 Certificate’ has not yet been announced. The motion to introduce the certificate must still pass-through multiple levels of EU government before it can fully come into force. To read the announcement from the European Parliament, click this link.

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