On 8 June, the European Parliament voted to adopt an agreement on the EU Digital COVID Certificate regulation. With this new framework, the EU will have a common system to recognise certificates that will help re-establish free and safe movement within the EU. The Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament has worked urgently to ensure that the certificates will be operational by summer and is pleased to have secured EU funding of 100 million euros for free testing to obtain the certificate for specific groups.
Dacian Cioloş, President of Renew Europe, said: "The EU Digital COVID Certificate is the tool Europeans need to regain their mobility. It is of utmost importance for the millions of Europeans who cross borders daily for their work and also useful for those preparing for their holidays. As Europe steadily loosens restrictions and reinstates freedoms, the EU needs to get the internal market back to normal quickly. It is essential that Member States implement this Certificate responsibly, without adding administrative hassle that would undermine its effectiveness. The EU must ensure that the citizens are aware of the certificate and have easy access to it.”
Although Renew Europe pushed for a more ambitious European framework, the Group is pleased that citizens will have access to a single European certificate to travel freely within the EU again. However, for the EU Digital Covid Certificate to become the effective instrument requested by citizens, Member States must take responsibility to avoid a patchwork of different measures. Therefore, Renew Europe has once again called on EU Member States to refrain from imposing any further travel restrictions, such as quarantine or additional testing.
Renew Europe has also urged the European Council to streamline coordinated travel measures in line with the agreement on the EU Digital COVID Certificate and adopt the Council Recommendations as proposed by the European Commission on 31 May 2021. A harmonised approach is critical for the certificate to become a successful tool for citizens to enjoy their right to free movement. The European Parliament will closely monitor the implementation to ensure a smooth roll-out of the EU Digital COVID Certificate; any irregularities need to be identified, reported and tackled to ensure free and safe travel this summer.
Sophie in 't Veld MEP (D66, NL), Renew Europe's negotiator for the Certificate, added:
“I am very pleased that the European Parliament has adopted the Digital COVID Certificate. In the negotiation process, some barriers have been eliminated, which is good, but not as many as there could have been. As long as national governments resist a common European approach, the patchwork of national restrictions will continue to limit the right to freedom of movement beyond what is necessary to contain the pandemic.”