European Union vaccine passports issued in 17 countries
European Union Digital COVID certificates (EUDCC) have now been issued to citizens in 17 countries.
The vaccine passport (formally known as the EU Digital Green Certificate) provides digital proof whether a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from the virus.
Member states are obliged to start issuing the first certificates within six weeks of 1 July, when the EU Digital COVID Certificate Regulation enters into application.
According to the European Commission, the member states, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Spain Italy have all issued and/or verified at least one certificate.
Icelis the only non-EU Schengen area member to start issuing the certificate, but Liechtenstein, SwitzerlNorway also technically ready to connect to the EUDCC gateway.
Finland, Hungary Malta are still in the test phase of connecting to the EUDCC gateway, but the remaining members states are technically ready.
WHY IT MATTERS
The EDCC aims to facilitate safe free movement in Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic by exempting holders from travel restrictions such as needing to quarantine.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
Technical work for the EUDCC was completed on 1 June the regulation was signed at an official ceremony on 14 June. The regulation will apply for 12 months.
More than one million European citizens had obtained certificates by 9 June, according to EU commissioner for justice, Didier Reynders.
Last week, German health minister Jens Spahn said Germany had already issued five million certificates.
Meanwhile in the UK, the government is considering its own vaccine passports for use at large events.
ON THE RECORD
Reynders, said: “The EU Digital COVID Certificate provides European citizens with a common tool to allow them to move freely safely again. It showcases Europe’s technological leadership in full respect of our values principles: data protection, inclusiveness, proportionality. It is important that all member states use the next weeks to get fully ready, so the system will be fully up running on 1 July.”
Stella Kyriakides, commissioner for health food safety, said: “The EU Digital COVID Certificate shows the value added of effective e-health solutions for our citizens. It is important that during the coming weeks, all member states fully finalise their national systems to issue, store verify certificates, so the system is functioning in time for the holiday season. EU citizens are looking forward to travelling again, they want to do so safely.”
EU presidents David Sassoli Ursula von der Leyen prime minister António Costa said: “We can be proud of this great achievement. The Europe that we all know that we all want back is a Europe without barriers. The EU certificate will again enable citizens to enjoy this most tangible cherished of EU rights – the right to free movement.”