EU confident of COVID-19 travel certificate for summer


FILE PHOTO: People receive COVID-19 vaccine in the Central Mosque in Ehrenfeld suburb, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Cologne, Germany, May 8, 2021. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -The European Commission expects to finish work soon on a COVID-19 certificate that could allow citizens to travel more easily this summer in the 27-nation bloc, the EU executive said on Tuesday after a meeting with European affairs ministers.

The pass would allow those vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 or with negative test results to cross borders in a union where restrictions on movement have weighed heavily on the travel and tourism industry for more than a year.

"This is a priority for our citizens and therefore I believe we will deliver (on the certificate) before summer," Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic said after the meeting in Brussels. He said he expected a full roll-out by the summer.

A two week pilot project to test the technology a few countries at a time began on Monday, the EU Commission said.

But EU governments, the European Parliament and the Commission must agree on the design of the certificate. They must also decide whether faster, but less accurate, COVID-19 antigen tests can be included.

Sefcovic called on all sides to work together to complete the legislative, as well as the technical, work as quickly as possible, noting the complexity of the job.

"For the certificate to work, it has to be on smartphones, it has to be interoperable, possible to check it. So it is quite the task to do it at the pan-European level", Sefcovic said.

The European Parliament says no one will be obliged to use the EU certificate and it must not be considered a vaccine passport.

Sefcovic said the Commission was working closely to inform the United States, the World Health Organization and others about its progress to allow the certificate to be used on a wider scale.

As the vaccination campaign in the EU is gaining speed with 200 million jabs delivered and COVID-19 infections rates falling, Europe is starting to reopen cities and beaches, raising hopes for the summer holiday season.

German Europe Minister Michael Roth called for a swift agreement.

"This is not only important for countries depending on tourism but for all of us: It is ... a clear signal for freedom of movement and for mobility in the European Union," Roth said in Brussels.

(Reporting by Sabine Siebold in Berlin and Robin Emmott in Brussels; Editing by Alison Williams)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Next In World

France's Macron sparred with UK's Johnson over Brexit geography
Bidens attend mass before final day of G7 summit
Algerian parliamentary election results expected within days, authority says
South Korea to exempt some people vaccinated overseas from COVID-19 quarantine
Putin says he wants Biden summit to help establish dialogue - Ifax
G7 provides 1 billion COVID vaccine doses, will work to give more - communique
Britain wants to ease tensions with EU over N.Ireland, says Raab
Bidens to have tea with Queen Elizabeth as G7 ends
Analysis-With Trump gone, NATO wages war on climate threat
Australia's Victoria state expects further easing of COVID-19 curbs

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers