European Parliament committee backs extension of COVID certificate framework for another year
The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) has backed a European Commission proposal to extend the EU’s Digital COVID-19 Certificate (DCC) scheme for another year until June 2023.
In a meeting held on Thursday, April 28, the Committee backed the proposal with 48 votes in favor, 16 against and no abstentions, in a bid to ensure that citizens of the bloc continue to benefit from their right to free movement despite the evolution of the pandemic.
Commenting on the issue, MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar, who led the drafting of the report on the framework presented to the committee, said the certificate had allowed the creation of unilateral national restrictions without jeopardizing the right to free movement. and equality of EU citizens. .
“We wanted to prevent discrimination between countries of origin and we wanted this settlement to be time-limited. However, we can only get rid of it once the pandemic is over. As it is not over yet, we are extending the validity of the scheme and asking experts to assess the situation in six months“, she said, saying that since people are traveling freely again, it means that the regulations are working effectively.
In endorsing the proposal, the LIBE committee also supported the changes proposed by the Commission, which include granting recovery certificates to travelers who tested negative with rapid antigen tests, which was not possible before.
At Thursday’s meeting, however, the committee decided to make a request to the Commission, asking it to review the scheme after six months and terminate it if it is no longer deemed necessary.
“MEPs want to shorten the period of application of the regulation as soon as the epidemiological situation allows it“, notes the press release.
At the same time, MEPs called on EU countries to refrain from imposing COVID-19 restrictions this summer unless absolutely necessary, and even then in line with scientific advice from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and EU Health Security. Committee.
Last March, the European Commission had also adopted an EU mechanism that allows member states to cancel false or erroneous COVID digital certificates due to frequently detected COVID certificates to access areas that are only accessible with such a document or to travel .
On March 15, EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders revealed that by then more than 1.7 billion such certificates had been issued by countries within the framework.
Since the first certificates were issued by Member States in June 2021, until now, part of the framework for their issuance and verification are the 27 EU Member States and 35 third countries, namely the Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Benin, Cape Verde, El Salvador, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Israel, Iceland, Jordan, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay and the Vatican.