EU Parliament Approves Digital COVID Certificate, Boosting Summer Travel Hopes.
The EU parliament has backed a proposal allowing for digital proof of COVID vaccinations or negative tests. The measures are aimed at enabling restriction-free travel within the EU as the summer tourism season begins.
The long-awaited certificate is aimed at saving Europe’s travel industry and prime tourist sites from another disastrous vacation season. Key travel European destinations like Spain and Greece have led the drive to have the certificate, which will have both paper and digital forms, rapidly introduced.
The proposed digital covid certificates would enable more secure travel between EU countries by validating whether someone has been fully vaccinated, has recently tested negative for the virus or has recovered from the disease. The EU said it will also provide €100 million for the purchase of COVID-19 tests.
The new regulations governing the vaccine certificates were adopted in two votes at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. Rules for EU citizens were passed 546 to 93, with 51 abstentions. Those for people from outside the bloc passed 553 to 91, with 46 abstentions.
The vote must still be rubber-stamped by EU nations, but that’s likely to be just a formality.
It means that beginning July 1 for 12 months, all EU countries must recognize the vaccine certificate. They will be issued free and certify that a person has either been fully vaccinated against the virus, has recently tested negative or has recovered from the disease.
The rules will not be heavily enforced for 6 weeks to give time for countries to prepare.
The passes will be issued by individual nations and not from a centralized European system. They will contain a QR code with advanced security features. Personal data will not be shared with other countries.
Spanish Socialist lawmaker Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, who chaperoned the votes through parliament, said “EU states are encouraged to refrain from imposing further restrictions, unless strictly necessary and proportionate.”
People coming from outside the EU, the overwhelming majority of whom should be vaccinated to enter, will be able to get a certificate if they can convince authorities in the EU country they enter that they qualify for one.