EU signs off on vaccine passport initiative

Signing Ceremony of the EU Digital Covid

Insight Comment
For an organisation infamous for its bureaucracy, this was an incredibly fast turn of events. The question now is will the EU’s covid-19 passport be opened up to non-EU countries like the United States?

 

The European Union’s vaccine passport scheme has passed its final legislative hurdle, paving the way for tourism to resume within the bloc.

The official signing ceremony took place today (14 June), and the regulation will officially kick in on 1 July, with a phasing-in period of six weeks for the issuance of certificates for those countries that need additional time. 13 member states have already started issuing the certificates.

“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,” the presidents of the three EU institutions, the European Parliament (David Sassoli), the Council of the EU (Prime Minister António Costa) and the European Commission (Ursula von der Leyen), said in a joint statement.

“We can be proud of this great achievement. The Europe that we all know and that we all want back is a Europe without barriers. 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.”

The aim of the certificate is to facilitate safe and free movement inside the EU during the 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.

Certificate holders should be exempt from any additional travel restrictions. The regulation will apply for 12 months as of 1 July 2021.