A deal to extend the EU Digital COVID Certificate scheme for another year until June 2023, has been reached by the European Union and MEPs.
The decision to extend the scheme that was due to expire at the end of this month, on June 30, was made in order to ensure that EU citizens have the right to travel freely between all EU countries in the event there is a new variant of concern.
The council affirmed that the decision to extend the scheme would guarantee that EU travellers and travellers from third countries that are connected to the system, can proceed to use the Certificate to travel to Member States, where these travel certificates are a prerequisite.
Aside from extending the current scheme, an agreement was reached by the co-legislators, for the Commission to submit an obligatory report by December 31, 2022. It has been indicated that this report should be accompanied by judicial proposals that allow for the assessment to revoke or maintain the certificate, depending on the development of the health situation.
On top of that, co-legislators also agreed that all vaccination certificates should show all administered doses, disregarding the member state where the individual received the vaccine.
Furthermore, an agreement was met for the possibility of issuing a recovery certificate following an antigen test, the extension of the range of authorised antigen tests used to qualify for a COVID certificate and the possibility of allowing vaccination certificates to be issued to anyone who takes part in clinical trials.
The EU Commission welcomed the agreement to extend the EU Digital COVID Certificate by twelve months. Didier Reynders, the EU Commissioner for Justice, said that it has been made very clear, with more than 1.8 billion certificates issued, that the epidemiological situation can change at any time. He also declared that the EU Digital COVID Certificate has been key in helping “through the changing tides.”
The statement from Reynders reads, “Today’s deal will help us continue to facilitate free and safe travel, should a rise in infections make it necessary for the Member States to temporarily reintroduce restrictions.”
The next step is for the EU Parliament and the Council to formalise their agreement to extend the scheme until next year.