EU officials sign Digital COVID Certificate

A woman walks to the departure hall at the Brussels Airport in Zaventem, Belgium, April 19, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)

The European Union (EU) digital COVID certificate (EUDCC) was officially signed on Monday in Brussels, Belgium, after the three EU institutions worked hand in hand for the health pass to be ready on time for the summer holidays.

President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa representing the Council of the EU, appended their signatures on the document.

"Now we can travel in a safe way. Safe for ourselves, for those who host us, and for our families, neighbors and colleagues when we come back," said Costa.

"With the success of our European vaccination campaign and this new EU certificate, we can all look forward to the summer. To travel safely. And we are bringing back the spirit of an open Europe," said von der Leyen.

The EUDCC will enable EU residents to travel safely during summer within the borders of the bloc, without additional restrictions. Travel restrictions may be applied if deemed necessary, for example in the case of a variant of concern, but must be proportionate.

However, the EUDCC will not be a prerequisite to travel within the Schengen area, and will not be considered a travel document. The health pass will be proof that the holder has either been vaccinated, passed a negative COVID-19 test, or has recovered from the disease. It will be either digital or can be printed on paper.

It will be available to all EU residents as of July 1, although some countries have already started using it. A gateway has been put in place for countries to verify the validity of the EUDCC. Four non-EU countries, namely, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Iceland, and Norway, are also connected to the gateway.

The idea of the European COVID certificate was proposed in March by the European Commission.