More than one million EU citizens already have a Covid-19 certificate
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More than one million EU citizens already have a Covid-19 certificate

Credit: Belga

The implementation of the European Covid certificate is “progressing well” on a technical level, Commissioner Didier Reynders told the European Parliament on Tuesday morning.

Nine countries have already started issuing such certificates, which will have to be recognized in the other member states: Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia, Poland, Lithuania, Spain and the Czech Republic.

More than a million EU citizens have received one, according to the Commissioner.

A political agreement on the long-awaited certificate was reached on 20 May, ahead of the summer tourist season.

The European Parliament, meeting this week in Strasbourg, must now formally give the green light to the agreement. The votes will take place this Tuesday evening, and the results will be announced Wednesday morning.

Compromises needed to be reached regarding a few measures, such as a demand for free coronavirus testing.

A proposed solution involves encouraging member states to ensure “affordable” tests are widely available, but the details are vague.

In Belgium, anyone who is able to be vaccinated but refuses will have to pay for a PCR test or a rapid antigen test. Everyone else will get two such tests for free.

The regulation governing the certificate will enter into force on July 1, but many member states will already be participating in a “test” phase before that date, connecting to the European platform to make sure the national systems for issuing this proof (paper or digital) of vaccination, negative test or recent recovery of Covid-19 are functional.

Belgium will be part of the pilot in the second half of June.

“The more Covid certificates are issued in the coming weeks, the better we can avoid problems,” said European Commissioner Didier Reynders on Tuesday. “[This certificate] will make life easier for citizens. It will help them move around the EU, whether for work, family reasons or leisure.”

The European regulation that will be validated in the coming days defines a single format.

If a member state is not ready to issue such a certificate by July 1, it will be given six weeks to do so.

The Brussels Times