The EPP Group wants to introduce the EU COVID-19 certificate as quickly as possible. Anyone who has such a certificate should be allowed to travel freely across internal European borders again. Member States should not add other travel restrictions on top.
“The aim of the EPP Group is to have one, easy-to-use, non-discriminatory, safe system, which can be used EU-wide and allow persons to choose between a digital and a paper version. This certificate will provide concrete added value for our citizens", explained Jeroen Lenaers MEP, EPP Group Spokesman in the European Parliament's Civil Liberties and Home Affairs Committee, ahead of today's vote on the certificate.
The certificate will show if a person has been vaccinated, has recently tested negative or has natural immunity after recovering from COVID. Many citizens, especially those living in border regions or working in the tourism sector, heavily depend on cross-border travel. Some Member States and business sectors are trying to set up certificates by themselves. The swift introduction of the COVID certificate is therefore essential to avoid a myriad of solutions leading to a chaotic summer. It was the EPP Group who asked the European Parliament to adopt this legislative proposal in a fast-track procedure.
"Testing for the purpose of the certificate must be free of charge in order to avoid discrimination. Now we can restart the economy, tourism and create new jobs. At the same time, the certificate will help to keep the virus in check”, Lenaers continued.
The EPP Group insisted that only vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency and vaccines from the World Health Organisation’s list can be included on the certificate.
For Peter Liese MEP, the EPP Group’s Spokesman for Health, "there is no hundred percent in medicine. This means that even after vaccination or testing, in theory, people can infect others, even though it is much less likely. Therefore, we find it important not to use a rapid antigen test, which can sometimes produce a false result, for a certificate of recovery. However, we did succeed in making sure that people that have antibodies and have been through the disease, can get the certificate, even if they haven't had the chance to get vaccinated yet", said Liese.
With today's vote, Parliament is deciding on its position before entering into negotiations with EU Member States. The plan is to have the certificate up and running before summer.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 175 Members from all EU Member States