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InternationalVictory for tourism – EU reaches agreement on European health certificate

Victory for tourism – EU reaches agreement on European health certificate

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Petar Gramatikov
Petar Gramatikovhttps://europeantimes.news
Dr. Petar Gramatikov is the Editor in Chief and Director of The European Times. He is a member of the Union of Bulgarian Reporters. Dr. Gramatikov has more than 20 years of Academic experience in different institutions for higher education in Bulgaria. He also examined lectures, related to theoretical problems involved in the application of international law in religious law where a special focus has been given to the legal framework of New Religious Movements, freedom of religion and self-determination, and State-Church relations for plural-ethnic states. In addition to his professional and academic experience, Dr. Gramatikov has more than 10 years Media experience where he hold a positions as Editor of a tourism quarterly periodical “Club Orpheus” magazine – “ORPHEUS CLUB Wellness” PLC, Plovdiv; Consultant and author of religious lectures for the specialized rubric for deaf people at the Bulgarian National Television and has been Accredited as a journalist from “Help the Needy” Public Newspaper at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

The digital document could open more European countries for travel as early as the end of June

EU leaders have have reached a final agreement on a European health certificate scheme, which according to tourist destinations is vital for the upcoming peak tourist season, DPA reported, quoted by BTA.

The Commission welcomes today’s provisional political agreement between the European Parliament and the Council on the Regulation governing the EU Digital COVID Certificate. This means that the certificate (previously called the Digital Green Certificate) is well on track to be ready end of June, as planned. Today’s agreement has been reached in record time just two months after the Commission’s proposal. The negotiations on the certificate for the Commission have been led by Commissioner Didier Reynders in close cooperation with Vice-Presidents Vera Jourová and Margaritis Schinas and Commissioners Thierry Breton, Stella Kyriakides, and Ylva Johansson.

Welcoming this swift progress, President Ursula von der Leyen said:

“We are delivering on our commitment to have the EU Digital COVID Certificate up and running before the summer. European citizens are looking forward to travelling again, and today’s agreement means they will be able to do so safely very soon.

The EU Digital COVID Certificate is free of charge, secure and accessible to all. It will cover vaccination, test and recovery offering different options to the citizens. It fully respects citizens’ fundamental rights, including protection of personal data.

The digital certificate shall open more European countries to travel within the community as early as the end of June, although the pandemic continues and concerns about new variants of the coronavirus remain strong.

The certificate should indicate whether a person has a negative Covid-19 test, has recently recovered from the disease, or has been vaccinated.

This could be the basis for lifting the quarantine requirements currently in force for travel between many EU countries. However, each of the 27 members must decide what benefits the certificate will bring to its territory.

The European Commission presented its proposal for a “digital green certificate” in May, marking the start of negotiations.

Greece has already eased entry conditions for foreigners who have been vaccinated, and Spain admits EU tourists with a negative test.

One sixth of EU adults are already fully vaccinated, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. The goal of the EC is to vaccinate 70 percent by September.

The European Parliament (EP) and EU member states have finally approved the introduction of a vaccination certificate that will be valid throughout the EU. The document aims to facilitate travel within the Community from the beginning of the summer season.

When does the health passport come into force?

According to Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, chairman of the EP’s Home Affairs Committee, the decision will be voted on in the European Parliament in the second week of June. And if member states confirm the compromise reached just as quickly, the certificate will take effect on July 1st.

The new health passport will allow free movement within the EU for all European citizens who have either been vaccinated against Covid-19, have recently had the disease, or have a recent negative test for coronavirus infection. “This will eliminate the need for quarantine and additional tests, but this will always depend on the current pandemic situation,” said German MEP Birgit Zippel, who was involved in drafting the decision.

What information will the certificate contain?

The document will certify what vaccine its owner has been immunized with and will contain information about his latest tests for Covid-19, as well as whether he has had the disease. The other information that the certificate will contain is the name, date of birth and vaccination, as well as who issued the document.

Data protection will be ensured. The servers will not store any information containing personal data – they will be stored only on the personal mobile phone.

Paper or digital document?

It will be possible for the certificate to be digital – to be opened through a special mobile application. In Germany, it is currently being developed in collaboration with technology company IBM. But there will be other applications.

With the help of a QR-code, the data will be readable throughout the EU and will be protected against falsification. Those who do not have a mobile phone or do not want the certificate in digital version will be able to present it on paper.

Who will issue the certificates?

In Germany, the document will only be issued by authorized persons in immunization centers, doctors’ offices and hospitals. It is not yet clear how those already immunized will get a vaccination certificate. It will most likely occur where the vaccination was given.


Will a health passport be required?

The immunization passport will not be required. “The digital certificate is just an additional and completely voluntary tool,” the German Ministry of Health said, according to Deutsche Welle.

What rights will the certificate give?

This will be decided by each member state for itself. Popular tourist destinations such as Greece and Spain have long expressed interest in the certificate. But it is not yet clear what doors he will open there. At least one thing is certain: the certificate will greatly facilitate the certification of a vaccination, test or illness. It is also known that each member state will decide for itself whether to recognize vaccinations with the drugs “Sputnik V” and “Sinopharm”, which have not yet been approved by the European Medicines Agency EMA.

Trans border vaccination!

An interesting example of cross-border co-operation in the fight against the epidemic we have at the border of Bulgaria and Northern Macedonia. Two vaccination centers against COVID-19 have opened in the intermediate zone between the border checkpoints “Stanke Lisichkovo – Delchevo” and “Zlatarevo – Novo Selo”. Citizens of the Republic of Northern Macedonia can be immunized there every working day. The interest in mobile offices is great and on the first day after their opening about 2000 people have already signed up.

The Bulgarian state provides the vaccines, and the financing is with the help of the chairman of the Bulgarian Memory Foundation, Dr. Milen Vrabevski. As the vaccination centers are located in the intermediate zone, people will not have to enter Bulgaria and therefore do not need to take a PCR test.

“We are talking in this case not only about a patriotic initiative, but about working in a complex epidemiological environment, which largely involves the citizens of Northern Macedonia,” commented Dr. Milen Vrabevski.

Asked why this organization was being set up, he said: “We have 120,000 or more passports there, so we have a duty to take care of these citizens.”

About 50 people came on the 18th of May to be immunized in a mobile office located just before the Delchevo border checkpoint. There were also those who signed up for the lists for the next few days.

Work will be done on the possibility, after placing a second dose in mobile offices, for people who do not have Bulgarian citizenship to receive a vaccination certificate.

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