The legislative process for the European Union COVID-19 vaccine passports for travel has come to an end today, on June 14, after the presidents of the three main EU institutions – the Parliament, the Council, and the Commission – signed the Regulation at an official signing ceremony.
During the ceremony, the Presidents David Sassoli and Ursula von der Leyen and the Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, who is currently the President of the Council, showed their support for the document, asserting that it is “a symbol of what Europe stands for.”
“Our Union showed again that we work best when we work together. The EU Digital COVID Certificate Regulation was agreed between our institutions in the record time of 62 days. While we worked through the legislative process, we also built the technical backbone of the system, the EU gateway, which is live since June 1,” the Presidents said.
The EU Commission first brought forward the proposal for the establishment of a document that would make it possible to restore the freedom of movement in the block in mid-March this year.
After it went through the EU procedures, the Regulation has finally been approved, and 13 member states have already connected to the EU gateway and started issuing COVID-19 passport to their citizens.
“The EU Certificate will again enable citizens to enjoy this most tangible and cherished of EU rights – the right to free movement. Signed into law today, it will enable us to travel more safely this summer. Today we reaffirm together that an open Europe prevails,” the Presidents said during the ceremony.
Upon the official signature today, the Regulation will become effective on July 1, and the Member States are obliged to start issuing the first certificates within six weeks if they haven’t done so by then.
Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland started issuing the first passports on the very first day of this month, June 1. Six other countries – Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, and Spain – have issued the first passports to their citizens in the days following.
The rest of the EU and Schengen Area countries, except for Hungary and Finland, which are still in the test phase, are technically ready to connect to the EUDCC gateway.
The certificate is being issued to travellers who have been vaccinated with one of the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency, those who have recently recovered from COVID-19, as well those who test negative for COVID-19.
According to the Regulation, the Member States are advised against imposing any extra travel restrictions in those holding such a document, unless in cases when the additional measures are a must in order to safeguard the public health.
The Regulation is set to remain in effect until June 31, 2022