Commission’s proposal on non-essential travel to EU and introduction of Digital Green Certificate

At the beginning of May, the European Commission proposed that Member States ease the current restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU to take into account the progress of vaccination and the changing epidemiological situation.

According to the new proposal, all people coming from third countries with good epidemiological situation and all people who have received the last dose of an EU-authorised vaccine could travel for non-essential reasons. In combination, a new “emergency brake” mechanism was proposed to counteract possible coronavirus variants. In such case, Member States could temporarily limit to a strict minimum all travel from affected countries and put in place sanitary measures. Essential travel would remain permitted in any case.

Following the Commission’s proposal, the Council updated its recommendation on temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU, taking into account the ongoing vaccination campaigns. The Council further developed on the “emergency brake” mechanism, specifying that it should not apply to EU citizens, long-term EU residents and certain categories of essential travellers. Subsequently, in the conclusions of 24-25 May, it also called for a revision by mid-June of the Council recommendation on travel within the EU.

Travelling for non-essential reasons within the EU will be ultimately facilitated by the introduction of the Digital Green Certificate, in line with the guidelines proposed by the Commission. On Thursday 20 May, the European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional deal on the digital certificate. On Wednesday 26 May, the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs  approved the deal, which is now set to be adopted in the Parliament’s plenary session.

The Commission plans to roll out the Digital Green Certificate by 1 July, in order to facilitate free and safe movement over the summer period. In its conclusions on 24-25 May, the Council also called for a swift implementation of the Certificate.

Read more about the recent decision here.

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