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The more than two dozen member states of the European Union have agreed to move forward with a recently proposed Digital Green Certificate designed to facilitate safe travel throughout the continent.
A document endorsed by national envoys and seen by Reuters stated that the 27 EU member states have “underlined their commitment to have the framework ready by the summer of 2021.”
“What we want is to give to citizens and member states a tool that provides the necessary trust and confidence. A tool that competent authorities can rely on wherever needed to facilitate free movement,” EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders told an EU parliament committee this week via Reuters. “Similarly, an airline company could…verify the validity of the certificate in a simple way at the check-in. Long discussions at the gate should be avoided.”
As reported last month, the temporary measure would be available to individuals for free in digital or paper form and use a QR code to inform authorities about an individual’s health status, including whether they’ve received an approved vaccine, fully recovered from COVID-19 or tested negative for the virus within an acceptable timeframe.
The implementation of the Digital Green Certificate proposal must still be approved by the European Parliament, which hasn’t overlooked concerns related to data privacy and the challenges presented by land travel.
While the term “vaccine passport” has gained significant momentum in the time of COVID-19, the certificate would not be a vaccine passport but more of a health document giving individuals the green light to cross borders. Under the proposal, EU member states will have to accept EU-approved vaccinations but also have the choice to recognize other more polarized vaccines from outside the EU, including Russia’s Sputnik V.