Hopes for a European COVID certificate that will facilitate cross-border travel appear to be sealed despite “difficult negotiations”, according to a statement by the EPP, the largest political group in the European Parliament.
“This the happy end to a very difficult negotiation,” said MEP Jeroen Lenaers, EPP Group Spokesman in the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties and Home Affairs Committee, after the successful conclusion of the negotiations on the COVID-19 certificate.
“In a couple of weeks, we will have a unified European digital COVID certificate which will be recognised all over the EU and will massively simplify cross-border travelling. It is a major success that we have prevented contradictory national procedures and certificates,” he added.
The negotiations were difficult because the parliament wanted to make it easier for citizens to travel freely again, while the national governments wanted to preserve their national competencies, the EPP said.
“At some point in the negotiations, I had the impression that Member States care more about their sovereignty than the rights of their citizens. Luckily, we have now found a compromise,” Lenaers said.
The aim was for the certificate to be ready so that it can be used this summer all over Europe, in particular to avoid restrictions for citizens that have been vaccinated. In the end, by accepting the certificate, Member States will refrain from imposing additional travel restrictions, such as additional testing or quarantine, unless they are necessary to safeguard public health.
The Commission has committed to mobilising €100 million under the Emergency Support Mechanism to support the availability of affordable tests. Another €100 million could be used if necessary.