Official green light for the European green pass: MEPs have completed legislative work on the EU Digital Certified COVID to facilitate travel within the Union and contribute to economic recovery.

On Wednesday, the plenary approved the new EU regulations on the digital Covid certificate by 546 votes to 93 with 51 abstentions (EU citizens) and 553 in favour. For third-country nationals residing in the EU, 91 against and 46 abstentions.

The certificate will be issued free of charge by the national authorities and will be available in digital or paper format with a QR code.

The document will show that a person has been vaccinated against the coronary artery virus or has carried out a recent test with negative results or has recovered from the infection.

In practice, these are three separate certificates. A common EU framework will make certificates compatible and verifiable across the EU, as well as preventing fraud and counterfeiting.

The system will apply from 1 July 2021 and will remain in force for 12 months. The certificate will not constitute a precondition for free movement and will not be considered a travel document.

Green Pass, additional travel restrictions only if duly justified

EU countries will not be able to impose additional travel restrictions on certificate holders. However, appropriate measures will be applied to a necessary and proportionate extent to safeguard public health.

Scientific evidence will be the polar star of decisions. In particular, the epidemiological data published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control will be relevant. The measures should be notified, if possible, 48 hours in advance to the other Member States and the Commission, while the public should be given 24 hours’ notice.

Economic and accessible tests

EU countries will have to ensure that tests are affordable and widely available. At the request of Parliament, the Commission will mobilise EUR 100 million from the Emergency Support Facility. The money will help Member States to buy tests for the issue of EU Covid digital test certificates.

Vaccines

All EU countries must accept vaccination certificates issued in other Member States for vaccines authorised by the EMA.

It will be up to Member States to decide whether to accept certificates for vaccines authorised under national procedures or for vaccines listed by the WHO.

Green Pass, data protection guarantees

All personal data must be processed in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation. Certificates will be verified offline and no personal data will be stored.

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