European Union vaccine passports issued in 17 countries thumbnail

European Union vaccine passports issued in 17 countries

European Union Digital COVID certificates (EUDCC) have now been issued to citizens in 17 countries.

The vaccine passport (formally known as the EU Digital Green Certificate) provides digital proof whether a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from the virus. 

Member states are obliged to start issuing the first certificates within six weeks of 1 July, when the EU Digital COVID Certificate Regulation enters into application.

According to the European Commission, the member states, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Italy have all issued and/or verified at least one certificate.

Iceland is the only non-EU Schengen area member to start issuing the certificate, but Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Norway also technically ready to connect to the EUDCC gateway. 

Finland, Hungary and Malta are still in the test phase of connecting to the EUDCC gateway, but the remaining members states are technically ready.

WHY IT MATTERS 

The EDCC aims to facilitate safe and free movement in Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic by exempting holders from travel restrictions such as needing to quarantine.

THE LARGER CONTEXT 

Technical work for the EUDCC was completed on 1 June and the regulation was signed at an official ceremony on 14 June.  The regulation will apply for 12 months. 

More than one million European citizens had obtained certificates by 9 June, according to EU commissioner for justice, Didier Reynders.

Last week, German health minister Jens Spahn said Germany had already issued five million certificates. 

Meanwhile in the UK, the government is considering its own vaccine passports for use at large events.

ON THE RECORD 

Reynders, said: “The EU Digital COVID Certificate provides European citizens with a common tool to allow them to move freely and safely again. It showcases Europe’s technological leadership in full respect of our values and principles: data protection, inclusiveness, and proportionality. It is important that all member states use the next weeks to get fully ready, so the system will be fully up and running on 1 July.”

Stella Kyriakides, commissioner for health and food safety, said: “The EU Digital COVID Certificate shows the value added of effective e-health solutions for our citizens. It is important that during the coming weeks, all member states fully finalise their national systems to issue, store and verify certificates, so the system is functioning in time for the holiday season. EU citizens are looking forward to travelling again, and they want to do so safely.”

EU presidents David Sassoli and Ursula von der Leyen and prime minister António Costa said: “We can be proud of this great achievement. The Europe that we all know and that we all want back is a Europe without barriers. The EU certificate will again enable citizens to enjoy this most tangible and cherished of EU rights – the right to free movement.”

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