Commission proposes to extend European Covid-19 travel pass by one year


Photo source: European Commission / Photographer: Christophe Licoppe

As part of ongoing efforts to facilitate safe travel in times of Covid-19, the European Commission proposed on Thursday to extend the use of the EU Covid Digital Certificate by one year.

First implemented on July 1, 2021, the document enabled free movement and simplified travel across the EU, allowing unrestricted access to holders.

It is recalled that more than 1.2 billion EU Covid digital certificates have been issued and 60 countries are connected to the system. Holders of the document, which provides proof of vaccination, testing and recovery from Covid, can travel freely between member states.

The decision comes after the tourism industry called for a extension as well as to try to prevent a patchwork of general controls and restrictions.

In view of the Omicron variant and the ongoing pandemic, the Commission proposes that the EU COVID digital certificate remains valid until June 30, 2023. The original expiry date was set for June 30 this year .

“The extension of the regulation will ensure that travelers can continue to use their EU Covid digital certificate when traveling within the EU where member states maintain certain public health measures,” the Commission said in its statement on Thursday. , adding that the proposal will now go to the European Union. Parliament and Council for final approval.

Photo source: European Commission

“Without this extension, we risk having many divergent national systems, and all the confusion and obstacles that would entail,” said the EU justice commissioner. Didier Reynderswho described the certificate as “an effective tool”.

In addition to extending the EU’s Covid pass, the Commission has also proposed to include high-quality laboratory antigen tests among the types of tests for which a test certificate can be issued; ensure that vaccination certificates contain the correct total number of doses administered in any EU state and not just in the Member State issuing the certificate; provided that certificates can be issued to persons participating in clinical trials of vaccines against Covid-19.

In the meantime, the national use of EU Covid digital certificates is up to each member state, however, EU members with a national system should ensure that the EU Covid digital certificate is also fully accepted for these purposes.

Finally, the Commission called on EU national governments to harmonize their national validity periods with the validity period set at EU level for travel purposes.

Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides. Photo source: @European Commission

“We are proposing to update the possibilities for using the certificate to travel across the EU in order to provide security for our citizens, as long as public health needs persist. We are also proposing to update our certificate with the latest scientific developments and epidemiological changes, the need to speed up recall campaigns and support ongoing vital clinical research, recognizing the citizens who take part in it,” said the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, adding that the certificate has facilitated free movement and safe travel in times of great uncertainty.

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