On 17 March, the European Commission presented a proposal to create a “Digital Green Certificate”, which would allow safe and free movement of citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic within European borders.
The Digital Green Certificate will be issued to citizens who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, have received a (recent) negative result, or have recovered from COVID-19. The strategy aims at lifting travel restrictions in a coordinated manner in all European Member States, to allow smoother movements of people across the Schengen borders. The certificate will be digital and issued for free by national authorities, which will have to set up the pass based on interoperability guidelines and common data set for test results. In case a Member State continues to oblige certificate holders to quarantine or require them to be tested, the decision will have to be justified to the Commission and other EU countries.
The European Commission has ensured that this new certificate will not hinder the possibility for unvaccinated people to travel. “It will not be a pre-condition to free movement, which is a fundamental right in the EU”, the Commission said.
After the Commission has presented the legal proposal, the European Parliament and the Member States will have to approve it. The European Parliament will decide on it in a fast-track process. After the approval, it will be up to national authorities to prepare the issuance and verification of certificates. It is hoped that, by the summer, the digital infrastructure will be set up and Member States will have implemented the changes in their health records systems.
More information on the strategy and its details can be found here.