The European Commission has finalised plans for the EU Digital COVID Certificate, which is due to launch at the beginning of July.
All Member States will have six weeks to phase in the use of the documents – which can be used as digital or paper copies.
Presidents David Sassoli and Ursula von der Leyen and Prime Minister António Costa said in a statement: “The EU Digital COVID Certificate is a symbol of what Europe stands for. Of a Europe that does not falter when put to the test. A Europe that unites and grows when faced with challenges. Our Union showed again that we work best when we work together.
The EU Digital COVID Certificate should not function to stop free movement across the bloc, so individuals who are not yet vaccinated should theoretically be allowed to travel.
While the EU launches a new system for citizens, it remains against the TRIPS waiver that would allow some countries to manufacture COVID vaccines. At the 2021 G7 meeting, leaders agreed to donate a further 870 million doses of COVID vaccine to countries which are nowhere near full vaccination, with some yet to begin. This amounts to 7.9% of the urgently needed doses across the globe.
The EU is one of the first G7 countries to create a ‘vaccine passport’, raising the question of how and if this document will be created in other countries.
The aim of the new tool is to facilitate safe and free movement during the Covid-19 pandemic by providing proof that a person has either been vaccinated against the virus, has received a negative test result or recovered from Covid-19.
The certificate will be available in digital and paper format, contain a QR code and be issued free of charge.
It is not a precondition for exercising free movement rights and it is not a travel document, officials added but will aid the restoration of safe international travel.