By Uglobal Staff
The European Parliament and the European Council have agreed on a provisional deal over the EU digital COVID-19 certificate, paving the way for its eventual implementation which may come as soon as June 10.
The EU's digital certificate, which many commentators have dubbed as the EU's version of vaccine passports, would allow certificate holders to freely move throughout Europe without going through cumbersome additional verification checks or more testing or prolonged quarantines.
Who would the EU vaccine passport be available for?
The certificate would be available for three distinct categories: those who have received the vaccination doses from EU recognized health companies; those who got a recent negative COVID-19 test result; and lastly, those who recently recovered from COVID-19 and now carry anti-bodies.
In a statement released on May 20, the European Parliament said the vaccine doses must be from companies recognized by the European Medicines Agency. The EMA has so far only authorized vaccines from four companies: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen. The statement does not say anything about what would happen to people who received other vaccines, such as Russia's Sputnik or China's Sinopharm, but hints that member states would have some leeway on such matters.
"It will be up to the member states to decide whether they also accept vaccination certificates that have been authorized by other member states following national authorization procedures or for vaccines listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use," it said.
Approval process of the EU’s digital vaccine certificate
The regulation for the EU digital COVID certificate is expected to last for at least 12 months from the day it becomes effective. The draft regulation will soon be placed before the Civil Liberties Committee as well as to the plenary and the European Council next week on May 26. After the committee's confirmation, it will be tabled for adoption during the June 7-10 plenary session where it is expected to pass.
About the provisional deal between the European Parliament and the European Council over the digital certificate, Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee and rapporteur Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar said:
“Whilst the agreement reached today does not fully meet the EP’s demands, it certainly signifies a major improvement to the current status quo for millions of EU citizens.”
“The EU digital Covid certificate will restore free movement within the EU, as member states start lifting restrictions to free movement across Europe. This agreement is the first step to get the Schengen area back on track,” the statement added.
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