Digital green certificates, due to become operational in the EU by early summer, will be issued for all vaccines against Covid-19, and third-country nationals will also be able to have them, it was announced today in Brussels.
European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders, in a debate before the European Parliament's Committee on Freedom and Justice, said that the main purpose of digital green certificates was to facilitate free movement in the EU and to help citizens regain their right to free travel. in a way that is adapted to the health situation.
"The European Commission has proposed that digital green certificates be extended to third-country nationals living or traveling legally in the EU. Over time, European green certificates need to become interoperable with international standards. In the medium term, the system needs to be harmonized. "so certificates issued by third countries are automatically accepted in the EU," Reynders said.
He told the European Parliament that all EU citizens would receive the same treatment when travel restrictions were lifted and that certificates for all vaccines would be issued, whether approved by the EMA or not.
"Member states will be obliged to accept vaccines that are not approved at EU level and they will be free to accept all other vaccines," Reynders said.
In Brussels, they emphasize that digital certificates are not "vaccination passports", but that they mean three types of certificates that will be issued in digital or paper form and will refer to proof of vaccination against covid-19, a negative test or proof of presence of antibodies.
It states that the certificates will be issued free of charge, that the plan is to take effect by early summer and that they will be suspended when the WHO marks the end of the pandemic.
"When the pandemic is behind us, there will be no need for certificates, but the instrument we are now introducing will be retained in case it has to be reactivated due to a new pandemic," Reynders said.
He said that digital certificates can only be used for free movement and that any other use at the national level must be legally established, proportionate and non-discriminatory.
For the European Commission's proposal to introduce digital green certificates to take effect, it needs to be supported by the European Parliament and EU member states.