EU will suspend ‘vaccination passports’ as soon as pandemic ends
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EU will suspend ‘vaccination passports’ as soon as pandemic ends

Illustration image of German proof of vaccination. Credit: Belga

The system of ‘Digital Green Certificates’ for free travel across the EU during the coronavirus pandemic will be suspended once the pandemic is over, according to the European Commission.

When presenting its proposal for the certificates – widely known as “vaccination passports” – on Wednesday, the Commission stressed that it was a temporary instrument.

“It will only apply as long as the Covid-19 crisis lasts,” said Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders during a press conference. “We do not want to prolong that.”

As soon as the World Health Organisation (WHO) declares the end of the pandemic and the international public health emergency caused by Covid-19, the system will be suspended.

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The certificate – which is expected to be in force by summer – will provide proof that a person has been vaccinated against Covid-19, has natural immunity, or has a recent negative test result, to make free travel in the EU possible again during the health crisis.

However, if the WHO declares a new pandemic caused by Covid-19, a variant of it, or a similar infectious disease, the system could be reactivated.

“We are looking into reactivating it in case of a possible new pandemic in the future, but I am hoping that we do not need that,” Reynders said.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday stated that she hopes that the Member States and the European Parliament will adopt the certificate quickly, so that it can be used as early as June.

More information about what information the certificate will hold and what it will look like, can be found here.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times