European Parliament And EU Member States Reach Agreement In Principle On Digital COVID Certificate For Travel
The European Parliament and EU member states have reached an agreement in principle on a digital COVID certificate that should open up travel across the EU.
As reported by rte.ie, the deal should allow individuals to travel across the EU with the help of a certificate that will indicate whether an individual has been vaccinated, has a negative COVID test or has recovered from the virus.
European Commission President Statement
Rte.ie quotes European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen as saying, "We are delivering on our commitment to have the EU Digital COVID Certificate up and running before the summer.
"European citizens are looking forward to travelling again, and today's agreement means they will be able to do so safely very soon."
According to rte.ie, the European Commission said that the certificate, which, as mentioned in the above statement by the commission's president, will be called the EU Digital COVID Certificate and was formerly referred to as the Digital Green Pass, will be "free of charge, secure and accessible to all" and "fully respects citizens' fundamental rights, including protection of personal data".
The certificate will be available both digitally and in paper, and will reflect national COVID certificates that each EU member state will develop.
Rte.ie quotes a statement from the European Parliament as saying, "The certificate will be available in either digital or paper format. It will attest that a person has been vaccinated against coronavirus or has a recent negative test result or has recovered from the infection.
"In practice, these will be three distinct certificates. A common EU framework will allow member states to issue certificates that will then be accepted in other EU countries."
The parliament also reportedly said that the EU Digital COVID Certificate will not be a "precondition" to exercise the right to free movement and will not be considered a travel document.
According to rte.ie, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar previously said that once the certificate is agreed, there would be a legal obligation on EU member state governments to provide it to citizens.
Rte.ie quotes the tánaiste as saying, "But each state will have a lot of flexibility on how they use it."
"So we would only consider using it for international travel for example. Some may require full vaccination and a test, some may say it can be either or, so there will be a lot of flexibility to maintain their own restrictions."
Possible Mid-August Rollout In Ireland
Rte.ie stated that RTÉ understands that Ireland might not be in a position to roll the certificate out until mid-August because so much testing in the country is done by private operators.
Below news by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland.
Minister for health Stephen Donnelly reportedly said on Friday May 21 that Ireland will adopt the certificate "as early as possible" and not necessarily by late July as previously flagged.
While Irish ministers have said it will be late July or early August before they put the certificate into operation, Donnelly said on May 31 that it could be earlier.
Donnelly told RTÉ, "The finalised date for Ireland is being worked on and will be announced next week. The government's view is that we want to participate in this as early as possible."
End of news by Reuters.
The Complexity Of Reconciling Private COVID-19 Testing With A Centralised EU Platform
Rte.ie stated that it is understood that Ireland will need to avail of a phasing-in period due to the complexity of reconciling private COVID-19 testing with a centralised EU platform that allows all EU member states to recognise one another's COVID certificates.
Rte.ie stated that while it is understood that Ireland's vaccination documents will be fully compatible with the EU Digital COVID Certificate, there are concerns that it will take longer for private testing certificates to fit into the EU system.
According to rte.ie, officials have said that it is more complicated for private companies to register their systems with the EU platform than it is for entirely state run systems to do so.
Minister For Health Statements
According to rte.ie, Donnelly said that there will be a "comprehensive statement" on international travel next week.
Rte.ie quotes Donnelly as saying on RTÉ's Morning Ireland radio show that Ireland intends to "fully participate" in the certificate.
According to rte.ie, Donnelly was speaking to RTÉ's Morning Ireland show when he said, as mentioned above, "The finalised date for Ireland is being worked on and will be announced next week. The government's view is that we want to participate in this as early as possible."
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