Covid passports to continue for another 12 months
The European Parliament has agreed to keep the EU Digital COVID Certificate (passports) framework for another twelve months until June 2023.
It has made the decision to ensure that EU citizens can benefit from their right to free movement regardless of the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The EP plenary has endorsed the Civil Liberties Committee’s decision to open negotiations with member states to prolong the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) scheme.
The creation of the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) was adopted in June 2021 to facilitate free movement in Europe during the pandemic for a limited period of 12 months.
The plenary voted to approve negotiations on the extension as follows:
- 432 votes in favour (EU citizens);
- 130 against;
- 23 abstaining.
- 441 votes in favour (third-country nationals);
- 132 against;
- 20 abstaining.
Along with extending the validity of the EUDCC scheme until June 30th, the changes also enable member states to grant test certificates based on new types of antigen assay tests.
MEPs amended proposals to stress that member states should avoid additional restrictions on the freedom of movement for EUDCC holders unless “absolutely necessary”.
If restrictions are required, they agreed that they should be “limited and proportionate”.
Also, they believe they should be based on the latest scientific advice from the EU Health Security Committee and ECD.
They also requested the commission to assess if the EUDCC scheme is necessary and proportionate six months after its extension.
MEPs revealed that they want to keep the period in which the regulation applies “as short as possible”.
They wish to repeal it as soon as the “epidemiological situation allows”.
Negotiations with the council to agree on the extension will begin immediately.
Therefore, the rules can kick in before the current scheme expires on June 30th.