The certificate, which would be available for free in digital or paper form, would serve as proof that an individual has been vaccinated, has received a negative PCR or rapid antigen test result, or has recovered from the coronavirus, allowing them to bypass any potential quarantine or testing requirements. The Digital Green Certificate would also include a QR code to ensure its security and authenticity and will be valid in all EU member states and open for Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
The Commission promises to build a gateway and support member states in developing software that authorities can use to verify all certificate signatures across the continent.
The proposed system is only designed to be a temporary measure, the Commission says, stating that it will be suspended once the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the end of the COVID-19 crisis.
“The Digital Green Certificate offers an EU-wide solution to ensure that EU citizens benefit from a harmonized digital tool to support free movement in the EU. This is a good message in support of recovery,” said Vice-President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, Vera Jourova. “Our key objectives are to offer an easy to use, non-discriminatory and secure tool that fully respects data protection.”
If successful, the system could potentially be expanded to include travelers from other parts of the world. “And we continue working towards international convergence with other partners,” said Jourova.
The proposal was met with praise and support by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
“The World Travel & Tourism Council and its Members say the proposal from the European Commission, which would see all EU member states adopt the Digital Green Certificate, is a major step towards the recovery of Travel & Tourism in the region,” WTTC President and CEO Gloria Guevara said in a statement Wednesday. “The introduction of the new certificate to travel could see member states welcoming travelers with proof of vaccination, a negative test or a positive antibody test, in time for the busy summer period. This would provide a significant and much-needed boost to economies and save millions of jobs and livelihoods.”
“We would like to congratulate the European Commission for its incredible efforts in bringing this to life in such a short period of time. The onus is now on member states and the European Parliament to adopt this new initiative, and we urge them to take the necessary steps to implement it as a matter of urgency,” she added. “The proposed Digital Green Certificate, along with enhanced health and hygiene measures and mandatory mask-wearing, will provide the reassurance consumers need to book their trips and ensure the return of safe international travel.”
The next step is for the proposal to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council and ultimately implemented into action by the member states. “The aim is to have the technical work and the proposal completed in the coming months,” the Commission said.