Travel during the Coronavirus Pandemic
To slow down the spread of coronavirus and protect the health and well-being of all Europeans, some travel restrictions have been necessary. The European Commission is doing its utmost to allow people to meet friends and family and to ensure free movement of citizens, goods and services – with full respect of health and safety measures.
On 20 May 2021, European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional political agreement on the EU Digital COVID Certificate. This means that the certificate (previously called the Digital Green Certificate) is well on track to be ready end of June, as planned. The agreement has been reached in record time just two months after the Commission’s proposal.
Following the agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council, 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;
- 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 to support Member States in providing affordable tests.
As a next step, the political agreement will now have to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. The Regulation will enter into force on 1 July 2021.
The European Commission calls for further efforts to ensure a smooth rollout of the EU Digital COVID Certificate. EU countries should make use, to the maximum extent possible, of existing possibilities under national law to start issuing EU Digital COVID Certificates already before the entry into application of the underlying Regulation on 1 July. Where national law provides for the verification of COVID-19 certificates, holders of an EU Digital COVID Certificate could already make use of them when travelling.