The European Union has stepped on the accelerator pedal in the negotiation to agree on a vaccination certificate before the summer season begins, with a view to avoiding a second consecutive summer with severely restricted mobility due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Parliament and the Council (the countries) are the two institutions that must now negotiate the format and characteristics of this document for which the European Commission presented your proposal on March 17, after the interest shown, in particular, by several Member States more dependent on tourism.
According to the project presented, the certificate it would be freeIt may be presented in electronic format —with a QR code— or on paper —with a barcode — and will be available in English and in the official language of the country that issues it.
The document would contain information on whether its carrier have received the coronavirus vaccine, has generated antibodies after passing the disease or has a recent negative PCR, the latter being one of the criteria that many countries have required of travelers in recent months.
An agreement before the end of May
The Spanish Socialist Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar is, as president of the Civil Liberties Commission, one of the MEPs who will negotiate with the countries to implement this certificate. According to the calendar it manages, the idea is that the interinstitutional agreement be reached in May so that the plenary of the European Parliament gives it the green light in its plenary session in early June.
The speed is explained by the use of the emergency procedure for the processing of the proposal in the European Parliament, which allows you to skip the commission phase so that the negotiating position of the Parliament is sealed by means of amendments voted in the next plenary session at the end of April.
The Council is also advancing its negotiating position in a working group about which the ambassadors of the Member States are often informed and which expects get closer to finishing your homework after the Easter holidays.
“What the legislator has to do is finally establish a homogeneous tool that ends the current fragmentation, and therefore discrimination, between Europeans”
The expectation is that, once each institution is clear about its position, both will negotiate for approximately a month: López Aguilar believes that the parliamentary commission that he presides could review the result of that agreement at its meeting scheduled for the last week of may, just before the vote in plenary session.
“We are perfectly aware that doubts and uncertainties persist from a scientific point of view, but what the legislator has to do is finally establish a homogeneous tool that ends the current fragmentation, and therefore discrimination, between Europeans imposed by the Member States “, he considered.
López Aguilar warned that these restrictions generate “a huge legal uncertainty” and they delay “the confidence necessary to be able to embark on free movement, which is a fundamental requirement for the restoration of the economic cycle.”
A demonstration of travel requirements are met
“To boost the economy, this decision must be made even when scientific uncertainties persist. The letter does not guarantee that its carrier will never be infected again or that it cannot be infected. It only guarantees that it has been vaccinated, that it is immune or who has had a PCR done for 72 hours, and therefore meets all the requirements to travel without bearing the penalties that transit between Member States has become at the moment, “the MEP settled.
Looking ahead to the forthcoming adoption of the negotiating position, López Aguilar advanced that the European Parliament wants to guarantee that the certificate data is collected only for the country that issues it, but not by the one before whom the certificate is presented.
They also want to prevent you from having a discriminatory character regarding travel and will negotiate so that its use creates binding obligations on the Member States, such as that their carriers are not subject to measures such as quarantines.
The Canarian MEP will also advocate introducing an extinction clause into the regulations, so that the use of this type of certificate has an expiration date. “If we enter the pandemic because of a statement from the World Health Organization, this regulation would cease to be in force on the day the WHO decrees the end of the pandemic, “he concluded.