Digital Green Certificate and easier traveling within EU

MAYORS OF EUROPE BLOG

With the summer approaching, more and more people have started thinking (or better say, have been thinking for over a year now!) about their annual leaves and getaways. We have been living in the time of the pandemic for more than 13 months now. So many restrictions are all around us, and the biggest one is probably the one regarding traveling.

The sector that generates between 10% and 25% of national GDP in most EU member states, tourism, has been hit heavily. The overnight stays fell by 52% in 2020 and international tourist stays fell by 68% in 2020 throughout the Union. A lot of state’s economies are highly dependent on international tourism and are unable to compensate for the loss of foreign travellers just with domestic tourism. Safe reopening of travel and tourism will bring millions of Europeans back to their jobs, and will drive a faster recovery in many EU regions. Thanks to vaccination which is our main way to combat the virus, the world has a good reason to expect the situation to improve.

These days, EU has created a coordinated approach to safe re-opening and has set out steps and tools which should be taken in order to achieve that common goal.

Digital Green Certificate should facilitate travel within the EU by covering vaccination, testing and recovery. This will put in place an EU level approach to issuing, verifying and accepting such certificates, to help citizens to obtain their right to free movement within the EU, as well as making it easier to lower the COVID-19 restrictions which were put in place in compliance with the EU law.

All Member States would accept the certificate as sufficient proof in order to waive free movement restrictions such as quarantine or testing requirements.

Naturally, people without Digital Green Certificate should still be able to travel, however it will make it much easier. Implementation of the Digital Green Certificate legislation also needs a compatible technical framework to be defined at EU level and put in place by Member States. This should ensure inter-operability, as well as full compliance with personal data protection. The goal should be to have this work complete and the system in place by the middle of June.

The use of the Digital Green Certificate should be accompanied by clear and transparent communication to citizens to explain its scope, use, clarify the safeguards to personal data protection and reassure citizens that this is a tool to help in enjoying free movement rights to the fullest.

 

Photo credit: European Comission