Brussels (Brussels Morning) The European Parliament and EU member states reached an agreement on Thursday that brings the bloc one step closer to the introduction of COVID-19 passports, DW reports.
The new document should restore some basic rights to holders since, as the European Commission points out, the “green certificate” will allow travel without restrictions in the EU, a measure that should help revive tourism ahead of the summer season.
MEP Jeroen Lenaers of the European People’s Party (EPP), which led the drive for the new document, welcomed the fact that “in a couple of weeks, we will have a unified European digital COVID certificate, which will be recognized all over the EU and will massively simplify cross-border travelling”.
Describing the move as a major success, he said “we have prevented contradictory national procedures and certificates”.
Document as a QR code
The new document will come in the form of a QR code, either digital on a smartphone or printed on paper.
Its introduction will exempt holders from travel restrictions in the EU such as mandatory quarantine or testing.
According to the plan, EU member states should provide COVID-19 tests free of charge, The EC has is to allocate 100 million euro to support this measure.
Restoring free movement
European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, said the proposed agreement signified “an important step towards restarting EU free movement as safely as possible, while providing clarity and certainty for our citizens”.
An EPP statement allowed that talks between the European Parliament and EU member states had been difficult “because the Parliament wanted to make it easier for citizens to travel freely again, while the national governments wanted to preserve their national competencies.”
The agreement still needs to be approved by the European Parliament at the next plenary session slated for 7 June.