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17th Mar 2021

EU unveil plans for “digital green certificate” allowing safe European travel by summer

Stephen Porzio

Ursula von der Leyen

EU citizens may be able to travel with minimum restrictions this summer.

The European Commission has unveiled their plans for a “digital green certificate” to allow safe freedom of movement between EU countries by the summer.

The certificate will be proof that a person has either been vaccinated against Covid-19, received a negative test result or recovered from the virus and has antibodies.

The EU Commission have said the system will be “non-discriminatory” against those not vaccinated.

The certificate will be available free of charge in a digital or paper format and will include a QR code to ensure security and authenticity of the travel pass.

The Commission say they will build a gateway to ensure all certificates can be verified across the EU and will support member states in the technical implementation of certs.

The system is being planned to ensure EU citizens can travel safely and with minimum restrictions this summer.

According to the Commission, the certificate system will respect data protection with the travel passes requiring only a limited amount of information.

This includes a person’s name and date of birth, the date of issuance of the cert, as well as relevant information about the person’s Covid-19 vaccination, test or recovery.

The Commission say this data can only be checked to confirm and verify the authenticity of certificates.

The certificate system will be a temporary measure and will be suspended once the World Health Organization declares the end of the Covid-19 international health emergency.

To be ready before the summer, the proposal needs a swift adoption by the European Parliament and the European Council.

Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune backed the European Commission’s proposal as a positive boost for tourism.

She said the certificate proposal “must respect our fundamental rights and values” but said it “could greatly boost confidence for post-Covid travel”, adding: “This can only be a welcome move in the right direction for our tourism sector.”

Clune, a Member of the Parliament’s Public Health Committee, also stressed the need for a united European approach to the rollout of the digital green certificate.

She is calling for the cert to be prioritised and negotiations to begin immediately so it can be implemented as soon as possible.

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