The European Parliament has passed the EU digital COVID Certificate Regulations with 546 votes to 93, and 51 abstentions. The immunity certificate will be issued free of charge by national authorities and will be available in either digital or paper format with a QR code. The purpose of the certification is to ensure travel and economic recovery in the European Union.
The system of the so-called EU “green certificate” will be in place from 1 July 2021 until 1 July 2022. It will exempt its holder from quarantine, entry restrictions and testing. Member states can only impose restrictions if they are necessary and “proportionate to safeguard public health.”
All personal data must be processed according to the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union, and certificates will be verified offline with no personal data being retained.
Three different types of certificates will be available to those who have either had a negative Covid test, those who have recovered from the virus recently, or those who have been inoculated with a vaccine authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). All member states can decide whether they will accept non-EMA approved vaccines.
Unfortunately for those Hungarians who have been vaccinated with either Sinopharm or Sputnik V, unless they show a negative Covid test or recovery from the virus, they will face restrictions if their destination country does not accept non-EMA approved vaccines.
While uncertainty remains for such individuals, Hungary is continuing bilateral deals to allow quarantine-free travel to various countries with any Hungarian immunity certificate, these include:
In the European Union:
Outside of the European Union:
- North Macedonia
Furthermore, Hungary will have access to payed Covid testing kits for those Hungarian citizens who use the EU immunity certificate. These will be covered by the EUR 100 million which the Commission promised to set aside from the Emergency Support Instrument.
Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee, said that the EU immunity certificate has set the pace “to restore free movement and a fully functional Schengen while we continue to fight this pandemic.” He encouraged EU states not to impose further restrictions unless necessary.
The regulations will still need to be formally adopted by the European Council and published in the Official Journal before they enter force on 1 July 2021.
Featured photo illustration by Zoltán Balogh/MTI