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EU institutions agree on COVID certificates

EU institutions on Thursday reached a political agreement on digital COVID certificates for the bloc. “We will not repeat the nightmare of 2020’s summer,” Juan López Aguilar, chair of the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee, told a press conference. 

“Schengen will be fully operational,” he added, referring to the EU’s border-free zone.

After several rounds of negotiations, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union agreed on the COVID certificates.

The document, proposed in March by the European Commission, is meant to facilitate travel within the bloc by waiving quarantine or test requirements for those who hold the pass.

The EU COVID certificate will be available for all EU citizens and residents for free, and it will show if a person has been vaccinated, had a recent negative PCR test, or recovered from the illness.

The document will be accessible on smartphone or paper format, and will feature a QR code that allows authorities to determine the COVID status of the traveler.

As sought by EU lawmakers, the EU budget will provide €100 million ($122 million) support for member states for affordable PCR or antibody tests in order to avoid discriminating against those who have not been vaccinated.

The European Parliament and EU governments have yet to officially adopt the text, but the regulation is expected to enter into force on July 1.

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