The European Commission has proposed to extend the validity of the European Union (EU) Digital Covid Certificate (EUDCC) by one year, until June 30, 2023, a Commission spokesperson said here on Thursday.
The EUDCC, a temporary instrument put in place by the EU to ensure free movement within the bloc, has been active in all EU member states since July 1, 2021, for one year. The certificates were due to expire on June 30 this year.
However, Covid-19 is still prevalent in the bloc and uncertainties surround its potential future variants.
“Without this extension, we risk having many divergent national systems, and all the confusion and obstacles that this would cause,” said Didier Reynders, European commissioner for justice.
The EU Digital Covid Certificate has proven “an effective tool” to facilitate safe and free travel, Reynders noted.
Amendments to the current EUDCC include the recognition of antigen tests, making sure that vaccines administered in different member states all show up on the certificate, and issuing certificates for people who took part in the vaccines’ clinical trials.
The EUDCC enables EU citizens to move freely between the bloc’s member states. It serves as proof of vaccination, testing and recovery. For vaccinated people, the European health pass is valid for 270 days.
EU member states have also started to use the EU certificate for domestic purposes, such as to enable its holders to access public venues, such as restaurants or concerts.
The Commission’s proposal will be subjected to the scrutiny of the European Council and the European Parliament for adoption.