EU lawmakers pass virus OK, boosting summer travel hopes
BRUSSELS (AP) – European Union lawmakers on Wednesday approved a new travel certificate that will allow people to move between European countries without having to self-quarantine or undergo additional coronavirus tests, paving the way at the start of the pass
BRUSSELS (AP) – European Union lawmakers on Wednesday approved a new travel certificate that will allow people to move between European countries without having to self-quarantine or undergo additional coronavirus tests, paving the way at the start of the pass in time for the summer.
The long-awaited certificate aims to save the European travel industry and major tourist sites from another disastrous holiday season. Key travel destinations like Greece have led to the rapid introduction of the certificate, which will feature both paper and digital forms.
Several EU countries have already started using the system, including Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Poland.
Today, traveling to the 27 EU countries is a hardship for tourists and airlines. Countries have various COVID-19 traffic light systems, where those in green are considered safe and those in red are to be avoided. But each nation has different rules and standards, making travel confusing for everyone.
The new regulations governing vaccination certificates were passed in two votes in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. The rules for EU citizens were adopted by 546 votes to 93, with 51 abstentions. Those of people outside the bloc fell from 553 to 91, with 46 abstentions.
The vote has yet to be approved by EU countries, but it is probably a formality.
This means that from July 1 for 12 months all EU countries must recognize the vaccination certificate. They will be issued free of charge and will certify that a person has been fully vaccinated against the virus, has recently tested negative, or has recovered from the disease.
The rules will not be heavily enforced for 6 weeks to allow countries to prepare.
The laissez-passer will be issued by individual nations, not by a centralized European system. They will contain a QR code with advanced security features. Personal data will not be shared with other countries.
Spanish socialist lawmaker Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, who chaperoned votes in parliament, said “EU states are encouraged to refrain from imposing further restrictions unless strictly necessary and proportionate “.
People coming from outside the EU, the overwhelming majority of whom must be vaccinated to enter, will be able to get a certificate if they can convince the authorities in the EU country that they are entering that they are entitled to it.
Follow more information on AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
Lorne Cook, The Associated Press