Source: Schengen Visa Info
The Parliament of the European Union has given the green light to the Member States to keep the EU Digital COVID Certificate in place until June next year.
“MEPs want to keep the period in which the Regulation applies as short as possible and repeal it as soon as the epidemiological situation allows,”
In a press release issued today, May 5, by the Parliament’s press room, it has been announced that the plenary has supported the proposal to keep the framework running for EU citizens with 432 votes in favour, 130 against it, and 23 abstaining, and with 132 against, and 20 abstaining for third-country citizens. The scheme was supposed to expire at the end of June this summer.
“To ensure that EU citizens can benefit from their right to free movement regardless of the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EP plenary has endorsed the Civil Liberties Committee’s decision to open negotiations with the member states to prolong the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) scheme -set to expire on June 30- for another 12 months,” the press release reads.
The EP voted on the proposal after the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) had approved it previously on April 28, supporting the extension of the EU DCC for one more year. The proposal had first been presented by the EU Commission at the beginning of February this year.
The Parliament also wants the EU Member States to refrain from imposing additional entry restrictions on travellers holding such certificates unless the situation deteriorates and imposing new requirements become absolutely necessary, based on scientific advice by the EU Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the EU Health Security Committee.
Approving the extension of the scheme, the Parliament has also approved a proposal of the Commission to grant COVID-19 test certificates for the new types of antigen assay tests.
It has, however, asked the Commission to come back with an assessment, six months later, at the end of December 2022, on whether the scheme is still necessary or not. If the report shows that the scheme is no longer deemed as necessary and effective on the halt of COVID-19 spread, the Parliament wants it to be suspended.
“MEPs want to keep the period in which the Regulation applies as short as possible and repeal it as soon as the epidemiological situation allows,” the press release notes.
The EU Commission has recently adopted a new feature for the framework, which enables the Member States to annul fake or erroneous EU Digital COVID Certificates after thousands of them have been detected since the EU DCC first became effective in the summer of 2021.
So far, the Member States have issued about two billion such certificates for persons who have been vaccinated for COVID-19, those who have recovered from the virus, and those testing negative for it. 1.7 billion such certificates had been issued up until mid-March 2022.
There are over 60 countries connected to the framework, including here the EU and Schengen countries, as well as several other third countries. Several of them, however, have already abolished the requirement to present such a certificate, or any other, in order to enter their territory, just in time for the summer season. Greece, Switzerland, and Lithuania are amongst the countries that have taken such moves.