The European Travel Commission (ETC) has responded to the extension of the EU’s COVID digital certificate regulation until mid-2023, calling for more self-imposed changes in order to restore freedom of movement within the bloc.
According to a press release from ETC, while 70 public and private travel and tourism organizations welcome the regulation extension, they insist that further changes to certification should be made so that, among other things, the rules are harmonized among member states.
In the same press release, ETC praised the EU’s COVID digital certification, noting that the document is a great success story as the only working COVID-19 certification system that works globally, however, and it does list the changes that need to be made to it.
“We believe that a more ambitious approach is needed to meet and enhance the EUDCC’s role as one of the key digital solutions to restore international mobility and a de facto global standard,” says ETC.
On March 11, the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) agreed to extend the use of the EU’s COVID digital certificate until mid-2023. At the same time, Coreper approved some changes to the certification, including here the possibility of all doses being included in the vaccination certificate, regardless about the country in which it was conducted. The changes also forese the issuance of the certificate to people who have recovered from the virus but only carry a positive antigen test result as proof.
ETC believes that the changes made to the regulation are not sufficient to guarantee freedom of movement.
According to the coalition, among the changes that must also be made is the inclusion of all COVID-19 vaccines as valid for issuance of a certificate of vaccination, not just those authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the relevant authorities in member states.
“In many cases, the same regulated EU-administered vaccines are available under a different brand name in other countries and therefore fall outside the scope of the EUDCC. This also applies to some of the vaccines the EU helps deliver under the COVAX scheme” , as ETC points out.
Furthermore, the press release stresses that if the coronavirus situation deteriorates again in the future, and member states begin to use the certificate as a condition of access to indoor events and places, the regulation should obligate them to accept all nationally accepted vaccination certificates at borders.
Finally, ETC suggests stopping certification once there is clear evidence that the virus is no longer a threat, and travel measures such as certification requirements no longer have any effect on preventing it.
Last Tuesday, March 15, the Commissioner of Justice, Didier Reynders, announced that more than 1.7 billion certificates have been issued by member states so far.
Since the certificate was launched in June 2021, and until now, part of its issuance and verification portal is 27 EU member states and 35 other countries in the world, namely Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Benin, Cabo 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 and Crown dependencies (Jersey Guernsey and Isle of Man), Uruguay and the Vatican.
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