The European Union’s Digital COVID Certificate will be extended for another year, until June 2023, following approval by the Council of the European Union. The EU Council made the announcement on Friday, March 11th.The Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) formally approved the Council’s negotiating mandate with the European Parliament to extend the EU Digital COVID Certificate Regulation.
During the epidemic, the Digital COVID Certificate was important in permitting free movement of people. And, if the epidemiological situation permits, the principle of gradually easing travel restrictions still applies.
On 3 February 2022, the European Commission proposed extending the Regulation creating the EU Digital COVID Certificate by one year, until 30 June 2023. It also made other targeted changes, such as extending the spectrum of authorised antigen tests and allowing vaccination certificates to be granted to people taking part in clinical trials.
The following are the main changes made by the Council to the Commission’s proposals:
- A deadline of 1 February 2023 has been added for the Commission to provide a thorough report. This report could be supported by legislative suggestions that would allow for a reassessment of whether the certificate should be repealed or extended based on changes in the health situation.
- To be able to include all doses in a vaccination certificate, independent of the place of vaccination, Member States now have the option of requesting evidence of identity and a vaccination or recovery certificate. This option would make it easier for Member States to comply with their requirement to issue a valid immunisation certificate regardless of vaccination location.
- The ability to issue a certificate of recovery following an antigen test has been added to take into account both the Commission’s adoption of a delegated act that allows for the issuance of a certificate of recovery following a rapid antigen test and the new ability to use other types of antigen tests provided for in the legislative proposal.
The current EU Digital COVID Certificate Regulation was enacted on June 14, 2021, and it has been in effect since July 1, 2021. It is set to expire on June 30, 2022. The Council and the European Parliament must obtain an agreement under the ordinary legislative procedure before the expiry date in order for the extension to be adopted in time.
Source: EU Council