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European Union Officially Paves the Way for Digital COVID Certificate

Photo © European Union, 2021

It’s now official. The EU Digital COVID Certificate is set to go live on 1 July. This week (Monday), the presidents of the three EU institutions – European Parliament, European Commission and Council of the EU – attended an official signing ceremony for the “Regulation on the EU Digital COVID Certificate”.

Marking the end of the legislative process, David Sassoli, Ursula von der Leyen and Portuguese prime minister António Costa, respectively, released a statement declaring, “The EU Digital COVID Certificate is a symbol of what Europe stands for. Of a Europe that does not falter when put to the test. A Europe that unites and grows when faced with challenges. Our Union showed again that we work best when we work together. The EU Digital COVID Certificate Regulation was agreed between our institutions in the record time of 62 days. While we worked through the legislative process, we also built the technical backbone of the system, the EU gateway, which is live since 1 June.”

They added that 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.”

According to the European Commission, the aim of the EU Digital COVID Certificate is to facilitate safe and free movement inside the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic. “All Europeans have the right to free movement, also without the certificate, but the certificate will facilitate travel, exempting holders from restrictions like quarantine.”

Following the official signature, the regulation will enter into application on 1 July, with a phasing-in period of six weeks for issuing certificates for any member states that need additional time. So far, 13 member states (including Spain) have already started to issue EU Digital COVID Certificates.

Key Aspects

The EU Digital COVID Certificate regulation will…

Cover COVID-19 vaccination, test and recovery
Be free of charge and available in all EU languages
Be available in both digital and paper-based formats
Be secure and include a digitally signed QR code

The commission noted that member states “shall refrain from imposing additional travel restrictions on the holders of an EU Digital COVID Certificate, unless they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health”.

Spirit of “Open Europe”

In a separate statement, Ursula von der Leyen said, “On this day, 36 years ago, the Schengen Agreement was signed. Five member states at that time decided to open their borders to one another. This was the beginning of what today is for many, many citizens one of the biggest achievements of Europe: the possibility to travel freely within our Union.

“Today, the European Digital COVID Certificate reassures us of this spirit of an open Europe, a Europe without barriers, but also a Europe that is slowly but surely opening up after a most difficult time – the pandemic.

“This certificate is a symbol of an open and digital Europe. We developed this certificate in record time. It will make travel in our Union easier. And it will give Europeans back the freedoms they value and cherish so much. The European Certificate is safe, it is secure and it is for free. Citizens who are vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 or have a negative test result will have the right to receive it. And it must be recognised everywhere within the European Union.”

The European Commission president also noted that a “digital gateway” had been set up to allow member states to verify that the certificates are authentic across Europe.

In addition to the EU Digital COVID Certificate, passengers using Corvera Airport Murcia (and other Spanish airports) can take advantage of enhanced online services provided by the national airport operator (Aena).

Corvera Airport Murcia flights are also subject to newly-eased protocols that came into force earlier this month for travellers from outside the EU and Schengen Area – including the UK.

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