Sixteen countries have started using the EU’s ‘digital COVID certificate’ (EUDCC) to allow their citizens to easily travel through the block.
the The European Commission says Fifteen Member States – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Spain – logged on to the portal and started issuing the first certificates.
They are joined by Iceland, which is the first of four countries in the European Economic Area to join the program.
Formerly known as the EU’s digital green certificate, others are expected to follow suit when its functions are rolled out continent-wide by July 1.
The certificate is available in digital or paper form and is free. The gateway provides access to QR codes for all certificates.
The EU’s plan is to put in place a single system to facilitate safe travel by verifying the pass holder’s coronavirus status – whether through vaccination, a recent negative test result or proof of recovery. virus.
More than 20 countries have successfully tested the system over the past month, according to the European Commission. The launch follows an agreement between the European Parliament and the Council on regulation.
The certificate was officially enshrined in EU law in a record 62 days on June 14 after a significant majority vote in the European Parliament.
Alberto Alemanno, professor of European law at HEC Paris, told Euronews the system will test cooperation between EU countries, as many have sought to enforce their own traffic rules amid the pandemic .
“You have to remember that the conditions of access to obtain this certificate will change from one country to another. It is up to each country to determine who is vaccinated, who is tested … who will be declared immune, ”he says.
“Each country reserves the right to refuse the COVID certificate as such. This could in fact be the source of a lot of confusion and unpredictability.”
The European Commission aims to ensure that 70% of the 450 million inhabitants of the block have received at least one dose of the vaccine by the end of July.
Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen revealed last month that the EU is on track to meet this target with more than 250 million doses administered to date. More than 80 million Europeans have already been fully immunized.
Brussels has also previously indicated that fully vaccinated people from countries outside the EU should be able to visit without any quarantine requirements – provided they have received EU approved jabs.
The European watchdog has approved the use of four vaccines: Pfizer / BioNTech, AstraZeneca / Oxford University, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
According to Our World In Data, over 38 percent of the EU population has received at least one dose of vaccine, compared to 50.3 percent in the US, 57.7 percent in Canada, 58.1 percent percent in the UK and 63 percent in Israel.