EU Parliament backs extending Digital Covid Certificate for another year

EU Parliament backs extending Digital Covid Certificate for another year
Credit: Belga

As the current EU Digital Covid Certificate regulations are set to expire on 30 June, the European Parliament agreed on Thursday to keep the framework in place for an additional year, until June 2023.

The Digital Covid Certificate – allowing travellers to prove they are fully vaccinated, recently tested negative for Covid-19 or recovered from an infection in the past six months – was adopted in June 2021 to facilitate free movement in the EU during the pandemic, for a limited period of 12 months.

"To ensure that EU citizens can benefit from their right to free movement regardless of the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic, the EP plenary has endorsed the Civil Liberties Committee’s decision to open negotiations with the Member States to prolong the EU Digital Covid Certificate scheme for another 12 months," an EP press release reads.

Along with extending the validity of the Certificate until 30 June 2023, the change will also enable the Member States to grant test certificates based on new types of antigen tests. However, MEPs stressed that Member States should avoid additional restrictions for travellers with a Covid Digital Certificate "unless absolutely necessary."

If restrictions are needed, they should be "limited and proportionate," based on the latest scientific advice from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the EU Health Security Committee.

Additionally, the necessity and proportionality of the certificate will be assessed six months after its extension, as MEPs want to drop the measure as soon as the epidemiological situation allows.

Now, negotiations with the Council to agree on the extension can begin immediately, so the rules will be in place before the current scheme expires on 30 June.

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