1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

COVID vaccine passes could grant EU travel perks

April 29, 2021

It's one of a number of proposed changes to the vaccine certificate that the European bloc hopes to roll out in time for peak travel season in the summer.

a man stops in a car at a border check in Europe
The EU hopes to get vaccine certificates rolled out across the bloc by summerImage: Miguel Riopa/AFP/Getty Images

The European Parliament has suggested that EU governments should not impose quarantines, tests or self-isolation measures on people holding COVID-19 vaccine certificates.

The proposal was one of several agreed in a vote about the certificate, the results of which were announced on Thursday. The Parliament has now finalized its negotiating position with member states and the EU's executive branch, the European Commission.

It brings the EU a step closer to launching a document that would open up travel within the 27-member bloc during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

What is the vaccine certificate?

The certificate, currently dubbed the "digital green certificate," was proposed by the Commission earlier this year.

The document would show whether a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has a recent negative test result or has recovered from an infection.

The EU wants the certificate to be recognized across all 27 EU member states.

But details about the document are still being debated.

EU lawmakers want to make these key changes

EU lawmakers have suggested a name change for the document, calling it an "EU COVID-19 certificate." They argue this will avoid any implication of it becoming a "vaccine passport."

The document should not be a travel document or a "precondition to exercise the right to free movement."

They said holders should be able to use it for 12 months.

Serbia cancels 'vaccine tourism'

The parliament also called for EU countries to offer COVID-19 tests for travel free of charge, so that the document would not end up discriminating against people who cannot afford the test or who are unable to get vaccinated.

The Commission had said that this issue should be left up to member states.

Lawmakers agreed with the Commission's proposal that all vaccines rubber-stamped by the European Medicines Agency should be automatically recognized.

The reaction so far

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the result, while ignoring the proposed renaming of the certificate.

"The [European Parliament] adopting its position on a Digital Green Certificate is a key step towards free and safe travel this summer," she tweeted.

What happens next?

The European Parliament will now start negotiations with the EU Council, made up of the heads of the bloc's 27 member states, the European Council president and the president of the European Commission.

The European Commission hopes the documents can be rolled out in the next few months.

kmm/rt (Rueters, dpa, AFP)