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Time for EU governments to use Covid certificates to end restrictions


08 Jun 2021


Health & Consumers

As the European Parliament votes in plenary, the S&D Group is calling on member states to ease travel for people holding an EU Digital Covid certificate. The European Commission last week launched a gateway for EU countries to issue and verify certificates, with nine countries already using EU certificates.

S&D MEPs are also encouraging member states to find a common agreement to put an end to additional restrictions based on the Commission’s proposal last week. According to the agreement reached on 20 May, people are entitled to a certificate if they have been vaccinated, tested negative or are immune, and EU governments committed to ending additional restrictions for certificate holders. The S&D Group is also pushing for a coordinated approach from governments when it comes to issuing certificates for non-EU citizens travelling to the EU.

The final agreement is being debated this morning and will be voted on later today. The results of the vote will be announced on Wednesday morning. You can follow the online press conference with the lead negotiator, S&D MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar, today at 13:15.

Juan Fernando López Aguilar MEP, negotiator and chair of the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said:

"42 years ago, the European Parliament was elected by universal vote for the first time. 12 years ago now, with the Lisbon Treaty and the Charter, the European Parliament enlarged its legislative power more than ever before. And yet, this Parliament is seldom breaking news, and even more seldom breaking good news. This is a result of amending, negotiating and adopting the EU Digital Covid Certificate in a record timeline; in barely two months the European Parliament has made the difference, protecting citizens’ rights, defending free movement and privacy, providing legal certainty and preventing discrimination. The aim is to restore a fully functional Schengen, a valuable asset that has been missed throughout the Covid crisis."

Birgit Sippel MEP, S&D spokesperson on justice and home affairs, said:

The certificates will have real added value as the member states undertake to refrain from travel restrictions, such as testing or quarantine, if the health situation allows it. While we still need to be cautious, the pandemic will not last forever. That is why we made sure the certificates are only a temporary measure and that they expire after 12 months. If they are needed, the Commission has to come forward with a new proposal, which will be subject to a public debate and proper scrutiny and evaluation. We also made sure that by using certificates, it is people that are moving and not their data. Making sure personal information is totally protected is a constant concern for the S&D Group. It is now up to the member states to make best use of these new rules to provide certainty where people have faced complete confusion and obscurity over the past year and to gradually make travel easier in time for summer.”