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EU Endorses New Travel Certificate

The European Union has approved the use of a new travel certificate, enabling visitors to move between countries.

With the pass, visitors avoid extra COVID-19 tests and quarantines, according to the Associated Press.

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The EU took action on travel certificates in order to help the bloc’s struggling tourism industry. Countries heavily reliant on tourism such as Greece have led the effort to rapidly introduce the system, which will have both paper and digital forms.

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Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Poland have already enacted the system. However, there are varying rules and regulations at play.

The new regulations approved at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, could streamline the system.

Starting July 1 and lasting 12 months, all EU countries must recognize the vaccine certificate. They will be free and certify that a traveler has either been fully vaccinated against the virus, has recently tested negative or has recovered from the disease.

The rules will not be heavily enforced for six weeks to allow countries to make preparations. Passes will be issued by individual countries, not by the EU and will contain a QR code. Personal data will not be shared.

“EU states are encouraged to refrain from imposing further restrictions, unless strictly necessary and proportionate,” said Spanish Socialist lawmaker Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar.

It is less clear how travelers outside the EU will qualify for the certificates but more information should be forthcoming before the July 1 launch. Per the AP report, “People coming from outside the EU, the overwhelming majority of whom should be vaccinated to enter, will be able to get a certificate if they can convince authorities in the EU country they enter that they qualify for one.”

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