An EU-wide COVID travel pass that will allow European citizens to travel throughout the bloc’s 27 nations – without having to quarantine – has made headway and may just save Europe’s summer travel season.
European Union legislators and member countries agreed on Thursday (May 20) to launch a COVID-19 certificate system by July 1, just in time for the summer months, to boost travel and tourism.
The move paves way for trans-border travel, which has been largely restricted due to the global pandemic.
“This agreement is the first step to get the Schengen Area back on track,” European Parliament rapporteur Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar said, referring to Europe’s passport-free travel zone, as reported by the Associated Press. “It will make all the difference, and it won’t be repeating the nightmare of summer 2020.”
Certificates will be digital, but will be designed so that they can be presented either on smartphones or paper.
The program also guarantees that “a very high level of data protection will be ensured.”
The certificates will allow EU residents to prove they have been vaccinated, have tested negative for COVID-19 or have had proof of recovery.
The European Commission said Thursday that it would allocate 100 million euros in EU funds ($122M) for purchasing tests that are compatible with the certificates.
“This should particularly benefit persons who cross borders daily or frequently to go to work or school, visit close relatives, seek medical care, or to take care of loved ones,” the parliament said.
European airline and travel associations, including IATA, CLIA, the ETC and ECTAA have all applauded Europe's “swift action" in advancing its travel and tourism sector out of the pandemic.
The Commission predicts that roughly 70 per cent of the EU adult population will be vaccinated by summer’s end.
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