EU confirms one-year extension of Covid Digital Certificate

EU confirms one-year extension of Covid Digital Certificate
Credit: EC/Twitter screengrab

With the EU Digital Covid Certificate regulations set to expire on 30 June, the EP Civil Liberties Committee endorsed extending the scheme’s legal framework for another 12 months – until June 2023.

The Digital Covid Certificate – which proves that travellers are fully vaccinated, have 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.

In early May, however, the Civil Liberties Committee opened negotiations with the Member States to prolong the EU Digital Covid Certificate scheme for another year, and an agreement has now been reached.

“MEPs sitting on the Committee on Civil Liberties, Home Affairs and Justice on Thursday backed the agreement, which aims to prevent restrictions to EU free movement in the event of new variants or other pandemic-related threats,” a press release reads.

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Under the deal, the scheme is set to stay in place for another year “in case it is needed.” In that case, restrictions should not be “disproportionate or discriminatory.”

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.

The impact of the EU Digital Covid Certificate on free movement and fundamental rights will be assessed by the European Commission in six months (end of 2022). The Commission can also then get rid of the measure if the sanitary situation allows.

The extension still needs to be approved by the full House on 23 June during a plenary session in Brussels, and formally adopted by the Council of the EU.

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