The EU Digital COVID certificate has launched in 7 European Union (EU) countries , a month ahead of the deadline for its implementation. The certificate was originally proposed by the European Commission in March 2021 under the name of ‘Digital Green Certificate’ with the intention of facilitating safe travel within the EU during the pandemic.
The certificate provides proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has tested negative for the virus or has recovered from an infection. It is free of charge and it is accessible and secure to all, with both digital and paper formats available.
The EU gateway – a digital infrastructure responsible for the verification of certificate signatures – went live on 1st June 2021, following successful tests by 22 countries since 10th May 2021.
The certificate will only become available to all the member states from 1st July 2021. However, those countries who have passed the technical tests can begin to issue certificates immediately. These include Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, and Poland.
Some countries have decided to launch the certificate only when all functions are deployed nationwide, with the EU Commission stating that more countries are set to join ‘in the coming days and weeks’.
The EU Commission stated:
We urge EU countries to get fully ready, so the system will be fully up and running on 1 July.
Citizens will receive the certificate either automatically or upon request once they have received a vaccine ‘irrespective of the number of doses’ in an EU country. Those citizens who have been vaccinated in a non-EU country can request the certificate from the Member State of their nationality or residence, provided that there is a reliable proof of vaccination.
Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, said:
The EU Digital COVID Certificate provides European citizens with a common tool to allow them to move freely and safely again. It showcases Europe’s technological leadership in full respect of our values and principles: data protection, inclusiveness, and proportionality. It is important that all Member States use the next weeks to get fully ready, so the system will be fully up and running on 1 July.
The agreement will have to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. The regulation can then be applied on 1st July 2021, with a phasing-in period of 6 weeks for countries that are not ready to issue certificates on time, when ‘other formats can still be used and should be accepted in other Member States’.
On 31st May 2021, the EU Commission proposed that Member States should lift travel restrictions for fully vaccinated people, or those that have recovered from COVID-19 and who are holders of the certificate.
The roll out of certificate comes after the EU agreed to open up to fully vaccinated travellers. For more information on the EU Digital COVID certificate, see the ‘Questions and Answers’ page on the EU Commission’s website.
Featured image by the European Commission
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