The European Parliament has extended the use of the EU Digital Covid Certificate for another year, according to a press release published by the Parliament.
The purpose of the certificate’s extension, according to the Parliament, is “To ensure that EU citizens can benefit from their right to free movement regardless of the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs voted on 28 April 2022 to pass the extension with 48 in favor, 16 against, and 0 abstentions.
The certificate’s new validity will be until 30 June 2023.
In addition to the extension, the committee also amended to proposal to make it a requirement that the need for the certificates be reviewed every 6 months for as long as the Parliament keeps them in use.
The EU Digital Covid Certificate started out as something that might have been needed early on in the pandemic, when Member States shut their borders to each other, and there were no uniform restrictions or rules from country to country.
“A year ago, we put in place the EU Digital COVID certificate so that unilateral national restrictions would not endanger the right to free movement and equality. We wanted to prevent discrimination between countries of origin, and we wanted this regulation to be time limited,” said Rapporteur Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar.
The certificate was supposed to be temporary, lasting only one year. To the contrary of what the Parliament has promised, however, they keep extending the requirement for Europeans to have the certificate if they want to have freedom of movement, citing Covid-19’s continued presence in Europe as the reason for the certificate’s extension.
Aguilar continued, “However, we can only get rid of it once the pandemic is over. Since it is not over yet, we are extending the validity of the scheme, and asking experts to evaluate the situation in six months’ time. Now, people are again travelling across borders in Europe, which shows that the regulation is working.”
With the nature of Covid and other coronaviruses being that they do not disappear but rather keep evolving throughout populations, it is highly likely that the Parliament will keep extending the use of the Covid certificates.
By default, these extensions just strengthen the EU government’s monopoly on freedom of movement in the bloc, something that is supposed to be a fundamental right in Europe.