The European Parliament agreed to keep the EU Digital COVID Certificate framework in place for another year, until June 2023.
To ensure that EU citizens can benefit from their right to free movement regardless of the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EP plenary has endorsed the Civil Liberties Committee’s decision to open negotiations with the member states to prolong the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) scheme -set to expire on 30 June- for another 12 months. The plenary voted to approve negotiations on the extension with 432 votes in favour, 130 against, and 23 abstaining (EU citizens) and 441 votes in favour, 132 against, and 20 abstaining (third-country nationals).
Along with extending the validity of the EUDCC scheme until 30 June 2023, the changes also enable member states to grant test certificates based on new types of antigen assay tests.
Review after six months
MEPs amended the proposals to stress that member states should avoid additional restrictions to the fredom of movement for EUDCC holders, unless absolutely necessary. If restrictions are needed, they should be limited and proportionate, based on the latest scientific advice from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the EU Health Security Committee.
They also ask the Commission to assess if the EUDCC scheme is necessary and proportionate six months after its extension. MEPs want to keep period in which the Regulation applies as short as possible and repeal it as soon as the epidemiological situation allows.
Negotiations with the Council to agree on the extension can begin immediately, so that the rules are in place before the current scheme expires on 30 June.
The creation of the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) was adopted in June 2021 to facilitate free movement in Europe during the pandemic, for a limited period of 12 months.