EU COVID-19 'digital pass': seven countries begin using new travel system

# 02 June 2021 18:46 (UTC +04:00)

Several EU countries have launched the bloc's COVID-19 "digital pass" system for travel across the region, ahead of a full release planned for July 1, APA reports citing Euronews.

The European Commission says seven member states – Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland – have connected to the gateway and started issuing the first certificates. Other countries will follow suit when all functions are deployed nationwide, it added.

The EU's plan is for a single system to facilitate safe travel by verifying the pass holder's coronavirus status – whether through vaccination, a recent negative test result, or proof of recovery from the virus.

The certificate will be available in digital or paper form, free of charge. The gateway allows for the security features of all certificates' QR codes to be verified.

More than 20 countries have successfully tested the system since last month, the Commission says. The planned launch follows an agreement between the European Parliament and Council on regulation.

Alberto Alemanno, Professor of EU law policy at HEC Paris, told Euronews the system would put cooperation between EU countries to the test, as many have looked to enforce their own rules on movement amid the pandemic.

"We need to remember that the conditions of access to get this certificate will change from one country to another. It is each country to determine who gets the vaccine, who gets the test... who is going to be declared as immunised," he said.

"Each country reserves the right to refuse the COVID certificate as such. This might actually be the source of much confusion and unpredictability."