The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs proposed to extend the current EU Digital Covid Certificate rules for travel until 30 June, 2023 to ensure free movement.
Last week, the Committee approved two reports regarding a one-year extension of the current rules, which were set to expire on 30 June, 2022. The reports were adopted with 48 in favor, 16 against and 0 abstaining. The creation of the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) was adopted in June 2021 to facilitate free movement in Europe during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Certificate allows travelers to prove they are fully vaccinated, recently tested negative for Covid-19 or recovered from an infection in the past six months.
Rapporteur MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar said that the EU Digital COVID certificate was put in place a year ago so that unilateral national restrictions would not endanger the right to free movement and equality. He added that they wanted this rule to be limited in time. However, the regulation cannot be lifted yet as the pandemic is not over.
We wanted to prevent discrimination between countries of origin, and we wanted this regulation to be time-limited. However, we can only get rid of it once the pandemic is over. Since it is not over yet, we are extending the validity of the scheme, and asking experts to evaluate the situation in six months’ time.Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES)
Besides extending the validity of the Certificate until June 2023, the new rules will also enable member states to grant test certificates based on new types of antigen tests.
MEPs amended the proposal to highlight that member states should avoid additional restrictions for travelers with a Covid Digital Certificate. Such restrictions should be applied only if “absolutely necessary,” and they should be “limited and proportionate,” as well as based on the latest scientific advice from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the EU Health Security Committee. MEPs also asked the Commission to assess the necessity of the Certificate six months after its extension, as they want to get rid of the measure as soon as the epidemiological situation allows.
The decision of the Civil Liberties Committee to open negotiations with the Council on the legislative proposal will be announced today during the opening of the plenary session in Strasbourg. However, if there are any objections, the decision will be put to the vote on Thursday, 5 May.