The European Union's (EU) Covid-19 passport scheme will be up and running from July 1, European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders said. The announcement on Friday came a day after negotiators from EU member states, the European Parliament and the European Commission agreed on the regulations that will govern this Covid-19 travel document, Xinhua news agency reported.
The freshly struck deal on the scheme will allow travel in summer, Reynders said at a press conference here, adding that this was "good news for all European citizens".
"All member states must get fully ready during the month of June, so they can hit the ground running," Reynders said. He added that the European Commission was offering technical support and up to a million euros per state to help. There will be a six-week transition period for member states that need more time. The scheme will allow EU citizens to travel more freely within the EU in total health safety and will support economic sectors dependent on free movement, Reynders told journalists.
Three types of certificates will be available free of charge, in paper or digital format: one attesting vaccination with an EU-approved shot; a second showing negative test results; and the third for people who have recovered after having been infected with Covid-19.
Regarding the cost of the required tests, Reynders said the Commission will also mobilise an additional 100 million euros to support member states in providing affordable tests. The regulation underlines that member states shall refrain from imposing additional travel restrictions on the holders of an EU Digital Covid-19 Certificate, unless they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health.
"It is in all of our interests to make this work. Citizens will be able to travel safely. Businesses will be able to benefit from their spending, and transport will be able to operate," Reynders said.