The aviation industry welcomes the approval of the EU COVID-19 Certificate
According to IATA, the rapid alignment of the three EU institutions is essential to restore the free movement of citizens before the summer
Europe's aviation, travel and tourism sectors welcome yesterday's vote in the European Parliament on the proposed EU Digital Green Certificate Regulation, which launches trilogue negotiations between Parliament, the Council and the European Commission. Quick action and alignment between the institutions is now essential to get the certificates operational in June and to ensure reciprocity with systems outside the EU. Common, interoperable, safe and GDPR compliant health certificates represent an essential tool to facilitate the free movement of people within the EU and reopen travel in a safe and responsible way by making more flexible and ultimately lifting current travel restrictions.
Parliament's position presents important changes to the original proposal:
- A new name, “EU COVID-19 Certificate” has been agreed to make it clearer for EU citizens and also limit the use of certificates during the pandemic.
- Free and Accessible Testing - Testing is absolutely key in the fight against COVID-19, and the requirement for pre-departure testing (often PCR) should not create an economic distortion among travelers. With tests ranging from € 10 to € 150, it is clear that such high costs could be an impediment to travel, particularly between families.
- Total equality between vaccinated and screened citizens: No additional measures such as quarantine or additional tests should be imposed on travelers who present a valid “EU COVID-19 Certificate”.
The proposed amendments send a strong political message from Parliament on the urgency of restoring free movement in the EU. This is not a privilege, it is a right as one of the pillars of the single market enshrined in the European treaties. The rapid and safe restoration of free movement is possible and of vital importance, not only for tourists, but also for workers and cross-border citizens, who will be able to visit their families more easily once the certificates are operational. Vaccination campaigns in Europe continue to gain momentum, with 26.5% of EU citizens receiving at least one dose, compared to 16% four weeks ago.
According to a recent IATA survey, 72% of people want to travel to see family and friends as soon as possible. Therefore, the sectors urge quick negotiations and agreements in mid-May so that pilot tests and full implementation can take place in June. Time is of the essence to offer EU citizens much-needed respite after a year of blackouts and travel restrictions that have had a negative impact on consumers' mental health and well-being. Multiple studies show that traveling has positive effects on physical and mental health thanks to human and natural connections, increasing people's energy and relieving stress and anxiety.