Europe’s Digital Green Certificate Could Empower Free Movements
The European Commission (EC) announced creating a Digital Green Certificate to facilitate safe free movement inside the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Digital Green Certificate will be proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result, or recovered from COVID-19.
Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, stated on March 17, 2021, “The Digital Green Certificate offers an EU-wide solution to ensure that EU citizens benefit from a harmonized digital tool to support free movement in the EU.”
“Our key objectives are to offer an easy to use, non-discriminatory, and secure tool that fully respects data protection.”
Furthermore, the EC will build a digital gateway to ensure all certificates can be verified across the EU and support Member States in the technical implementation of certificates. Member States remain responsible for deciding which public health restrictions can be waived for travelers.
Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders added, ‘the Digital Green Certificate will not be a pre-condition to free movement, and it will not discriminate in any way.”
“A common EU-approach will not only help us to restore free movement within the EU and avoid fragmentation gradually. It is also a chance to influence global standards and lead by example based on our European values like data protection.”
Key elements of the regulation proposed by the Commission included, but are not limited to the following:
The Digital Green Certificate will cover three types of certificates –vaccination certificates, test certificates (NAAT/RT-PCR test or a rapid antigen test), and certificates for persons who have recovered from COVID-19.
The certificates will be issued in a digital form or on paper. Both will have a QR code that contains necessary key information and a digital signature to make sure the certificate is authentic.
The Digital Green Certificate should be issued to EU citizens and their family members, regardless of nationality. It should also be given to non-EU nationals who reside in the EU and to visitors who have the right to travel to the other Member States.
No personal data of the certificate holders pass through the digital gateway or is retained by the verifying Member State.
The certificates will be available free of charge and in the issuing Member State and English’s official language or languages.
The Digital Green Certificate system is a temporary measure. It will be suspended once the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the end of the COVID-19 international health emergency.
In parallel, Member States must implement the trust framework and technical standards agreed in the eHealth network to ensure timely implementation of the Digital Green Certificate, interoperability, and full compliance with personal data protection.
The aim is to have the technical work and the proposal completed in the coming months said the EC.
Additionally, the EC stated, 'All EU citizens have a fundamental right to free movement in the EU, which applies regardless of whether they are vaccinated.’
‘The same principle applies to the rights of non-EU nationals staying or residing in the EU Member States and who have the right to travel to the other Member States.'
Digital Green Certificate Questions and Answers can be found on this EC webpage.
Vax-Before-Travel publishes research-based travel vaccine news.