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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

EU moves towards one-year extension of Covid certificate

The European Union is moving towards the extension of the digital Covid certificate system for an additional year, the Committee on Civil Liberties in the European Parliament having supported, on Thursday, a proposal on this subject from the European Commission.

The Civil Liberties Committee has thus approved two reports to extend the EU’s digital Covid certificate scheme – whose validity expires on June 30 – for another year, with the aim of ”guaranteeing the right to free movement of EU citizens regardless of the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

In addition to this extension until June 30, 2023, the changes made will also allow states to issue certificates based on new types of antigen screening tests.

MEPs amended the proposals to emphasize that member states should not impose additional sanctions on the free movement of citizens holding an EU digital Covid certificate, unless absolutely necessary.

If restrictions are necessary, they say they should be limited, proportionate and based on the most recent scientific advice from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the Health Security Committee (HSC).

In addition, MEPs asked the Commission to assess whether the scheme is still necessary and proportionate six months after the start of the extension. They also want the Commission to shorten the period of application of the regulation as soon as the epidemiological situation allows it.

“A year ago, we created the EU digital COVID certificate so that unilateral national restrictions do not threaten the right to free movement and equality. We wanted to avoid any discrimination between countries of origin. We wanted this regulation to be time-limited. However, it can only be repealed once the pandemic is over. This is not the case,” said the Commission’s rapporteur, Juan Fernando López Aguilar.

The implementation of the EU digital Covid certificate was adopted on June 20, 2021, for a limited period of 12 months, with the aim of facilitating free movement in Europe during the pandemic.

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