EU digital Covid certificates to facilitate free movement in Europe
Brussels – The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the world’s largest business travel association, welcomes the agreement between the EU Council and EU Parliament to introduce an “EU digital Covid certificates” (formerly Digital Green Certificate) to facilitate free movement in Europe during the pandemic.
The agreement comes following a meeting last Thursday between the two parties to agree how to facilitate the safe and consistent reopening of travel across Europe from July 1. Agreement was reached on the following:
The EU digital Covid certificates will be free-of-charge, in the form of a QR code in a paper or a digital format, to certify that travellers have been vaccinated, have had a PCR test taken within 72 hours or an antigen test taken within 24 hours, or with a test proving the presence of antibodies taken within six months. The certificate will not be a precondition to exercise the right to free movement and will not be considered a travel document.
EU countries have agreed to recognise vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency, although EU countries can also decide to accept other jabs.
The deal states that EU countries should refrain from imposing additional restrictions on the holders of an EU Digital COVID Certificate unless they are necessary to protect public health, however EU governments are still able decide whether travellers with a certificate are still required quarantine or get tested.
The deal does not promise free testing (as had been called for by MEPs), but the EU Commission committed to using €100 million from the Emergency Support Instrument for procuring tests, an additional €100 million is available if necessary.
“GBTA welcomes the news that business travellers will benefit from a unified return to travel following the introduction of an EU wide recognised digital Covid certificate. The consistent approach across the EU is vital to restore traveller confidence and re-open business travel across multiple markets,” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO – GBTA