EU lawmakers adopt guide on COVID-19 certificate talks

European Parliament insists on making PCR tests free, abolishing quarantine for certificate holders.

EU lawmakers adopt guide on COVID-19 certificate talks

The European Parliament announced on Thursday that it had adopted its negotiation position on EU COVID-19 certificates.

The document will guide the European Parliament's negotiators in talks with the European Commission, which had proposed a COVID-19 travel pass system, as well as the Council of the EU, representing the governments of bloc member countries.

EU institutions aim to reach an agreement as soon as possible for the system to be operational by the start of the summer tourist season.

According to EU lawmakers, COVID-19 certificates must facilitate free travel within the bloc without discrimination.

They suggest EU member states abolish all travel restrictions, such as mandatory quarantines, self-isolation or testing, for the holders of the certificate.

The European Parliament also calls for free PCR and antibody tests to avoid discrimination against those who have not been vaccinated.

It also insists that the certificate system should only be in place for 12 months, with strict data protection rules.

The European Commission presented a proposal in March for a common digital pass to facilitate travel inside the bloc during the pandemic by waiving quarantine or test requirements for certificate holders.

These documents would confirm if a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has a negative PCR test result or has recovered from the illness within a set period of time.

The European Commission is currently working on a common COVID-19 certificate system, gathering data from national health registers

However, EU states are divided over the scheme. While Mediterranean countries are pushing for quick implementation in the hope for saving the summer tourist season, others are afraid the system would lead to inequalities between EU nationals who have been inoculated and those who have not.