The Council of the EU has approved the extension of the European Union’s digital COVID certificate for another year, until June 2023.
The decision was announced by the Council of the EU on Friday March 11, after the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) formally endorsed the Council’s negotiating mandate with the Parliament to extend the regulation establishing the digital COVID certificate of the EU.
“The digital COVID certificate has played an important role in facilitating the free movement of people during the pandemic. And the principle of the gradual lifting of travel restrictions if the epidemiological situation allows it remains applicable.says the Council in a press release regarding the move.
On February 3, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported that the European Commission had unveiled a proposal to extend the certificate for another year, following an assessment that the coronavirus is still prevalent in member states. The same had argued that it is not possible to stop using the certificate as a way to travel safely this summer while revealing the proposal.
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On the same date, the Commission also proposed several modifications to the certificate to better adapt it to the evolution of the Coronavirus situation in the bloc, but also in the world.
The changes include the possibility of including all doses in a vaccination certificate, regardless of where they were carried out, in order to facilitate the issuing by Member States of the certificates for fully vaccinated people (vaccinated with boosters after nine months).
At the same time, travelers will also be able to obtain reinstatement certificates if they hold an antigen test with positive COVID-19 results, which so far has not been possible.
And the third and final change requires the Commission to submit a detailed report on the certificate by February 1 next year.
“This report could be accompanied by legislative proposals to reassess the need to repeal or extend the certificate, depending on the evolution of the health situation.“, notes the Council in its press release.
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Now, for the decision to become fully effective, the Council and the European Parliament must reach an agreement under the ordinary legislative procedure before the expiry date of the current certificate regulation.
The certificate has been in effect since mid-2021 and has allowed those vaccinated against COVID-19, those cured of the virus, as well as those who tested negative to travel more freely throughout the bloc. At the same time, the EU has recognized as equivalent to EU COVID-19 digital certificates, certificates issued by more than 30 other countries around the world.
So far, 62 countries are part of the system, which are as follows:
- 27 EU member countries
- Green cap
- El Salvador
- Faroe Islands
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- San Marino
- United Arab Emirates
- The United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man)
- The Vatican
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