STRASBOURG, FRANCE — The European Parliament voted on 9 June to approve the use of digital COVID certificates to travel within the EU, and it’s now up to member states to choose which rules they’ll apply.
Currently, travellers need to undergo COVID testing and quarantine almost every time they cross a border within the EU.
Ideally, the certificate would allow carriers to simply scan and go, rather than test and wait.
Here are the details: CNN reports that the EU has voted to approve the EU Digital Covid Certificate, which should allow easier movement between EU countries.
The scheme is scheduled to start on July 1.
The certificate is touted as a way to make travel within Europe much easier.
Currently, if you travel between two EU countries you'll have to meet each of their individual rules for entry — which might mean daily testing if you're driving through or taking the train around the continent.
The certificate will log three things: the holder’s vaccination record, negative tests, and a record of previous infection.
In participating countries, the certificate should allow carriers to simply scan and go.
It should eventually be valid in all EU member states, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
Switzerland is also looking likely.
Travellers can choose a paper or digital certificate, and EU countries are urged to not add extra requirements for entry, although it is conceded that in some cases, countries might still require additional testing.
Only vaccines approved for use in the EU will count — so Sinovac or Sputnik V, for example, wouldn't count.
At least, that’s the bloc-wide rule, but individual countries can tweak the rules.
Currently, the EU has approved vaccines from AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.
As of June 8, there were only nine EU states signed up.
Those being Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Poland and Spain.
CNN says it expects the other 18 nations to join soon.
So far, eligibility is for EU citizens and their families, plus legal residents.
However, an EU spokesperson told CNN that the EU expects to open the scheme up to non-citizens — including Americans.