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From July 5, the EU’s COVID digital certificate regulation comes into effect. This means that EU citizens and residents will now be able to have their COVID digital certificates issued and verified across the EU. 21 Member States as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have already started issuing certificates before today’s deadline, and five EU countries start today, Associated media.
The Commission’s work on the EU’s COVID digital certificates was led by Commissioner Didier Reynders in close cooperation with Vice-Presidents Vera Jourová and Margaritis Schinas and Commissioners Thierry Breton, Stella Kyriakides and Ylva Johansson.
Welcoming the entry into force of the EU’s COVID digital certificate, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “The European Union is at the service of its citizens. The European digital COVID certificate is the symbol of an open and secure Europe that opens with caution, prioritizing the protection of the health of our citizens.
“In March, we promised to have an EU-wide system to facilitate free and safe travel within the EU by the summer holidays. We can now confirm that the EU’s COVID digital certificate system is operational.
“A large majority of EU Member States are already connected to the system and ready to issue and verify certificates. Over 200 million certificates have already been generated.
“We are helping Europeans regain the freedom they value and cherish so much.”
EU digital COVID certificate
The aim of the EU COVID digital certificate is to facilitate safe and free movement within the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic. All Europeans have the right to move freely, also without the certificate, but the certificate will facilitate movement, helping to exempt holders from restrictions such as quarantine.
The EU COVID digital certificate will be accessible to everyone and:
- Covers COVID-19 vaccination, testing and recovery;
- is free and available in all EU languages;
- is available in digital and paper format, and;
- is secure and includes a digitally signed QR code.
Under the new rules, member states must refrain from imposing additional travel restrictions on holders of an EU digital COVID certificate, unless they are necessary and proportionate to protect public health.
In addition, the Commission has pledged to mobilize EUR 100 million under the Emergency Aid Instrument to help Member States provide affordable tests.
At March 17, 2021, the European Commission presented a proposal to create an EU COVID certificate to facilitate the free and safe movement of citizens within the EU during the pandemic. On May 20, the co-legislators reached a provisional agreementt. At June 1, the technical backbone of the systems, the gateway to the EU, has been put into operation, which allows verification of the security elements contained in the QR codes. In time for the July 1 deadline, all 30 countries in the EU and EEA are connected live to the gateway. Since June 1, the first Member States have started to issue certificates; a total of 21 EU countries have brought forward the July 1 deadline.
Following the official signing on June 14, the regulations were published on June 15. It comes into effect today, July 1, with a phased-in period of six weeks for the issuance of certificates for Member States that need additional time.