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Seven countries in the European Union have launched the EU Digital Covid Certificate, a month ahead of the deadline for its implementation.

The certificate was initially proposed by the European Commission in March under the name of ‘Digital Green Certificate’ with the intention of facilitating safe travel within the EU during the pandemic.

The certificate provides proof that a person has been vaccinated against Covid-19, has tested negative for the virus, or has recovered from an infection. It is free of charge, and the countries say it is secure and accessible to all, with both digital and paper formats available.

The EU gateway – a digital infrastructure responsible for the verification of certificate signatures – went live today, following successful tests by 22 countries since May 10.

While it will only become available in all Member States from July 1, countries that have passed the technical tests can begin to issue certificates immediately. These include Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, and Poland.

Certain countries have decided to only launch the certificate once all functions are deployed nationwide, with the EU Commission stating that more countries are set to join “in the coming days and weeks”.

Earlier this year, airports and airlines called for the certificate to begin being issued “by the end of June at the very latest”.

The EU Commission stated:

“We urge EU countries to get fully ready, so the system will be fully up and running on 1 July”.

Citizens will receive the certificate either automatically or upon request once they have received a vaccine “irrespective of the number of doses” in an EU country. Those that were vaccinated in a non-EU country can request the certificate from the Member State of their nationality or residence; this will be issued if there is a reliable proof of vaccination.

Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, said:

“The EU Digital COVID Certificate provides European citizens with a common tool to allow them to move freely and safely again. It showcases Europe’s technological leadership in full respect of our values and principles: data protection, inclusiveness, and proportionality. It is important that all Member States use the next weeks to get fully ready, so the system will be fully up and running on 1 July.”

The agreement will have to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. The regulation can then be applied on July 1, with a phasing-in period of six weeks for countries that are not ready to issue certificates on time, when “other formats can still be used and should be accepted in other Member States”.

On May 31, the EU Commission proposed that Member States should lift travel restrictions for fully vaccinated people, or those that have recovered from Covid-19 and who are holders of the certificate.

For more details on the certificate, see the ‘Questions and Answers’ page on the EU Commission’s website.

Source: BTN