EU Digital COVID Certificate

The EU Council and the European Parliament have reached a provisional agreement on a proposal for a Regulation issued by the European Commission on March 17, to establish an EU Digital COVID certificate to facilitate free movement in Europe during the pandemic.

The agreement provides for three distinct certificates, attesting that a person has been vaccinated against coronavirus or has a recent negative test result or has recovered from the infection.

A common EU framework will allow Member States to issue certificates that will then be accepted in other EU countries. The certificate will not be a precondition to exercise the right to free movement and will not be considered as a travel document. The COVID Certificate regulation should be in place for 12 months.

Key features
The EU Digital COVID Certificate:

  • Will cover vaccination, test and recovery;
  • Will be available in a digital and paper-based format, depending on the choice of the recipients, and contain a digitally signed QR code;
  • Will be free of charge, be obtained easily and also available to persons vaccinated before the EU Digital COVID Certificate Regulation has entered into force;
  • May also be used by Member States for national purposes, if this is provided for in national law;
  • Will be verified to prevent fraud and forgery, as will be 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.

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.

The Commission will also mobilise €100 million under the Emergency Support Instrument for the purchase of tests to support Member States in providing affordable tests.

Next Steps
The political agreement will now have to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. The Regulation is expected to enter into force on July 1, with a phasing-in period of six weeks for the issuance of certificates for those Member States that need additional time.

In parallel, the Commission will continue to support the Member States in finalising their national solutions for the issuance and verification of EU Digital COVID Certificate, and to provide technical and financial support to Member States to on-board the gateway.

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