7 countries start issuing EU COVID-19 passports for travel

The European Union’s (EU) technical system responsible for the verification of the security features contained in the QR codes of all EU Digital COVID Certificates has gone live with seven EU Member States a month ahead of the deadline for its implementation.

From June 1, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland have connected to the gateway and started issuing the first EU COVID-19 travel certificates, while certain countries have decided to launch the document only when all functions are deployed nationwide.

According to a press release of the EU Commission on the milestone, more countries will join the system in the coming days and weeks, while since May 10, 22 countries have successfully tested the gateway.

“Today, the EU Digital COVID Certificate has reached another important milestone with the go-live of the technical system at EU level, which allows verifying certificates in a secure and privacy-friendly way,” the press release announces.

The gateway, which has been set up within a period of two months, will serve as a verification tool for the EU COVID-19 certificates, through which the EU intends to restore the freedom of movement within the block.

The regulation is set to be applied a month away from now, on July 1. Until then, the political agreement of May 20 must be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council.

After the regulation comes into force, there will be a phasing-in period of six weeks for the Member States that need additional time in order to start issuing the certificates. At the same time, the Commission will provide technical and financial support to the Member States in this regard.

Commenting on the Go-Live of the Gateway today, the Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton asserted that the seven Member States starting to launch certificates so early is a good start.

“I encourage others to follow as soon as possible. The timely preparation will allow the full system to be up and running by July 1 – when the proposal enters into application and the EU will be on time to open up again this summer,” Commissioner Breton said.

The Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides, on the other hand, insisted that it is important for the member states to finalise their national systems in the next coming weeks so that the system can be fully functioning in time for the summer season.

“EU citizens are looking forward to travelling again, and they want to do so safely. Having an EU certificate is a crucial step on the way,” she said.
The EU Commission came up with the idea for the creation of the EU Digital COVID Certificate in order to facilitate safe free movement of citizens in the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea was revealed on March 17, after which day the Commission worked closely with the Member States in order to bring it to life.

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