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European Parliament adopted negotiating position regarding EU COVID-19 certificate

Yesterday European Parliament adopted its negotiating position on the proposal for a EU COVID – 19 certificate to reaffirm the right to free movement in Europe during the pandemic.

     

Members of the European Parliament agreed that:

  • Universal, accessible, timely and free-of-charge testing needed across the EU
  • EU COVID-19 certificates are not travel documents and must not cause discrimination against those not vaccinated and for economic reasons
  • Member states should not impose quarantines/tests on certificate holders

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 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.

Both Parliament and Council are now ready to begin negotiations. The aim is to reach an agreement ahead of the summer tourist season.

Member states must accept vaccination certificates issued in other member states for persons inoculated with a vaccine authorised for use in the EU by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) (currently Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen), MEPs say. It will be up to the member states to decide whether they also accept vaccination certificates issued in other member states for vaccines listed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for emergency use.

Data protection safeguards

The certificates will be verified to prevent fraud and forgery, as will the authenticity of the electronic seals included in the document. Personal data obtained from the certificates cannot be stored in destination member states and there will be no central database established at EU level. The list of entities that will process and receive data will be public so that citizens can exercise their data protection rights under the General Data Protection Regulation.