The EU is “totally on track” to ensure that all of its citizens and residents can have a free Covid pass next month to facilitate travel, a spokesperson said on Monday.
The European Union wants anyone living in its 27 countries to be able to obtain a digital health pass – which the Commission calls a ‘green certificate’ – to display their vaccination status, Covid-19 test results and whether they are ‘were recovering from a coronavirus infection.
“It will be ready for the summer to facilitate safe travel, so it will be ready for use … by the end of June,” European Commission spokesperson Christian Wigand said in a statement. press conference.
Another spokesperson, Johannes Bahrke, added that 18 EU countries and non-member Iceland will test the digital document over the next two weeks to ensure any bugs have been fixed.
It is seen as a key tool in saving the summer vacation period in Europe, allowing tourist-dependent countries to reopen to visitors less likely to take Covid with them.
Other countries around the world have moved in the same direction, including Israel with its ‘green pass’ and Britain, which has told its citizens that some international travel will be allowed within a week with an application of its National Health Service (NHS) showing vaccinations received.
– For intra-EU travel –
The EU health pass will initially only be used for travel within the European bloc.
But the European Commission is working on its mutual recognition with certificates from third countries, in particular from the United States.
So far there has been no discussion between Brussels and London on the EU’s system recognizing the UK NHS application.
France, Malta and the Netherlands are among the countries testing the EU pass.
The test is to ensure that the digital keys used to authenticate the passes are functioning correctly and that they are interoperable between systems in different countries.
The pass, although primarily designed to be accessible via a smartphone app, must also be able to be authenticated in paper form. The technology was developed by the German companies T-Systems and SAP.
“All Member States will log into the system in June, most in mid-June,” Bahrke said.
While the committee says it is convinced that the laissez-passer will soon be operational, negotiations are underway with the European Parliament on certain aspects of the plan.
MEPs, for example, want Covid testing for travel to be free or capped, and EU countries not to be allowed to impose quarantine on health pass holders.
But the committee says these issues should be left to member states, which retain responsibility for health.
He hopes that compromises will be reached to allow the adoption of a European regulation on the laissez-passer before the end of June.
© 2021 AFP