European Union countries today formally agreed to issue Covid travel certificates as a step towards reopening tourism this summer with details to be negotiated with MEPs in May, two diplomatic sources told Reuters news agency.
The certificates will allow those who have been vaccinated, who have recovered from Covid-19, or who have a negative diagnostic test to travel within the EU more easily.
The 27 member states “underlined their commitment to having the framework ready by the summer of 2021,” according to a document adopted by EU ambassadors seen by Reuters.
The European Parliament, which must also agree on the proposal for it to be put into force, will formulate its position later this month, and final talks between MEPs, the countries’ ambassadors, and the Commission are expected to begin in May.
EU countries are working in tandem to ensure that “the necessary technological solutions have been implemented”, says the EU-27 decision, so that the new certificates, digital or on paper, can be used as soon as they are approved.
The agreement between the Member States includes anti-discrimination provisions against those who cannot or do not wish to be vaccinated and allows a range of tests to be performed to demonstrate recovery.
While the Member States will be required to recognise EU-approved vaccines, certain countries will also be able to issue certificates covering vaccines, such as Russian Sputnik or Chinese Sinovac, which are only approved in their own territory.
Other EU countries will decide whether to accept a certificate for a vaccine that has not been approved by EU regulators.