The European digital green certificate is not a ‘carte blanche’ for guaranteed free travel between EU member states. While wanting to encourage travel, EU countries can impose additional restrictions on travellers.
After initial doubts from France and Belgium, the 27 European member states agreed on the digital green certificate, popularly known as the vaccination passport, on Wednesday. The EU wants to lose the term “vaccination passport” as it should not become a means of coercion for vaccination. “Discrimination against people who, for whatever reason, do not want to be vaccinated is out of the question,” said European Commissioner Didier Reynders at the beginning of April.
European green certificate introduced in June
Despite the provisional agreement reached by the member states on Wednesday, they still have to enter into a conclave with the European Parliament. For the time being, Parliament intends to announce its decision on the certificate’s introduction in the last week of April. Previously, Brussels wanted to introduce the certificate in June.
Not a license for unlimited travel through Europe
Although this certificate is intended to encourage travel between EU countries, the green certificate is not a license to travel. The member states may impose additional restrictions, such as quarantine or extra measures, on travellers from other countries.
Agreement on the content of the green certificate
The member states agree on the content of the certificate. The traveller can demonstrate by means of the QR code on the document that they have been vaccinated against Covid-19, have a recent negative test result or there is evidence of recovery (antibodies) after a previous infection.
If it is up to the Member States, the green certificate is free. It will be issued in paper or digital version and contains the aforementioned QR code. The certificate is in English and the language of the country issuing the document. So far, only vaccines approved by the EMA will count towards proof of vaccination, namely Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen.