The European Parliament voted yesterday, April 28, to approve terms for the next step in the development of the EU’s proposed Digital Green Certificates. Negotiations will now take place between the Parliament, the Council and the European Commission (EC) ahead of the certificates becoming operational by the June 3 date set by the EC.
The initial proposal was amended in a number of key ways, including a name change: the Digital Green Certificate has been replaced by the EU Covid-19 Certificate.
The negotiations will also look at the often prohibitive cost of PCR testing, which can be as much as €150 and a “deterrent to travel – in particular among families,” according to the European Travel Agents’ and tour Operators’ Associations (ECTAA). Negotiations will also consider the importance of removing additional measures such as quarantine or further testing on passengers who present a valid EU Covid-19 Certificate.
The ECTAA has welcomed the vote, saying that the proposed amendments “send a strong political message from the Parliament on the urgency to restore free movement in the EU.”
“[Free movement] is not a privilege – it is a right as one of the pillars of the single market enshrined in the European treaties. Safely and swiftly re-establishing free movement is both possible and vitally important – not only for holidaymakers, but also for cross-border workers and citizens who will be able to visit their families more easily once the certificates are operational.” – ECTAA
The ECTAA also affirmed the importance of vaccination drives, which to date have seen 26.5 per cent of all EU citizens receive at least one dose of a vaccine compared to 16 per cent four weeks ago. It also pointed to a recent IATA survey in which 72 per cent of respondents said they wanted to travel so see family and friends as soon as possible, and urged that agreement on all aspects of the negotiations should be reached by mid-May.