The Council of the EU has approved the extension of the European Union’s Digital COVID Certificate for another year, until June 2023.
The decision was announced by the Council of the EU on March 11, Friday, after the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) formally endorsed the Council’s negotiating mandate with the Parliament to extend the Regulation establishing the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
“The Digital COVID Certificate has played an important role in facilitating the free movement of people during the pandemic. And the principle of gradually increasing travel restrictions if the epidemiological situation so permits still applies,” the Council says in a press release regarding the move.
Back on February 3, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported that the EU Commission had unfolded a proposal to extend the certificate for another year, following an evaluation that the Coronavirus is still prevalent throughout the Member States. The same had argued that it is not possible to cease using the certificate as a means of safe travel this summer while revealing the proposal.
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On the same date, the Commission has also proposed several changes to the certificate to better adjust it to the evolving Coronavirus situation in the bloc, but also in the world.
The changes include making it possible to include all doses in a vaccination certificate, no matter where they were performed, in order to make it easier for the Member States to issue the certificates for those fully vaccinated (vaccinated with boosters after nine months).
At the same time, travelers will also be eligible to obtain certificates of recovery if they hold an antigen test with positive COVID-19 results, which so far has not been possible.
And the third and last change is obliging the Commission to submit a detailed report on the certificate by February 1, next year.
“This report could be accompanied by proposals to allow for a reassessment of the need to repeal or extend the certificate, depending on developments in the health situation,” the Council notes in its press release.
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Now for the decision to become fully effective, Council and the EU Parliament must reach an agreement under the ordinary procedure before the expiration date of the current Regulation on the certificate.
The certificate has been effective since mid-2021 and has enabled those vaccinated against COVID-19, those recovered from the virus, as well as those testing negative to travel more freely throughout the block. At the same time, the EU has recognized as equivalent to the EU Digital COVID-19 Certificates, the certificates issued by another over 30 world countries.
Up until now, there are 62 countries that are part of the system, which countries are as follows:
- 27 EU member countries
- Cabo Verde
- El Salvador
- Faroe Islands
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- San Marino
- United Arab Emirates
- The United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man)
- The Vatican
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