International travel moves closer after European Parliament votes in favour of introducing EU Covid-19 certificates
Another step forward towards safe travel in the European Union this summer.
The European Parliament has voted in favour of introducing EU Covid-19 certificates, also known as Digital Green Certificates.
It was confirmed on Thursday morning that the legislative proposal was approved with 540 votes to 119, with 31 abstentions.
It is said the EU Covid-19 certificates will "reaffirm the right to free movement in Europe during the pandemic".
The document, which may be presented in a digital or paper format, will prove that a person travelling throughout the EU has either been vaccinated against Covid-19, has a recent negative test result, or has recently recovered from the virus.
However, the EU Covid-19 certificate will not serve as a travel document in itself or become a precondition to exercise the right to free movement.
That said, holders of an EU Covid-19 certificate will not be subject to additional travel restrictions, such as quarantine, self-isolation or testing upon arrival in the EU country to which they are travelling.
MEPs have stressed that, in order to avoid discrimination against those not vaccinated, as well as for economic reasons, EU countries should “ensure universal, accessible, timely and free-of-charge testing”.
MEPs also agreed that the certificate system should not be in place any longer than a year.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has described the certificates as "a key step towards free and safe travel this summer".
The @Europarl_EN adopting its position on a Digital Green Certificate is a key step towards free and safe travel this summer.
Now negotiations with @2021PortugalEU can start.
We will support and facilitate a swift conclusion of these discussions.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) April 29, 2021
Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune also welcomed the news that the certificates have been approved.
In a statement, she said: "The EU Covid-19 Cert makes sense. It would allow people with the certificate to travel freely and safely across Europe.
"What is vital now is that Europe works together on making sure that the cert is developed as quickly as possible and in the most effective way.
"The priority for all member states, including Ireland, is ensuring that their citizens are safe and protected from Covid-19 and this cert can help achieve that as economies and borders begin to open up again.”
The next stage in the process will involve negotiations with the European Council and the leaders of the 27 EU member states on how to implement the certificates, with the aim being to reach an agreement ahead of the summer tourism season.
For more information about the certificates, see here.