European Commission: COVID travel pass ready before summer holidays

The European Commission sees no reason why Member States, including the Netherlands, cannot start on 1 July with the covid certificate that makes travel within the EU easier. Prime Minister Rutte suggested last Saturday that the system will not be delivered until 21 June and that countries will then have โ€œup to six weeks to implement it nationallyโ€. The Netherlands will try to keep that time as short as possible, Rutte said.

This reading is rejected by the European Commission. โ€œThe Commission does not require a period of implementation. We know that a number of Member States have asked for it in the negotiations currently under way, but no decision has yet been taken,โ€ says a committee spokesman. โ€œWe are fully on track on our side. We will be ready on June 1st, and from that moment on countries will be able to use the system. Most of them will do that in mid-Juneโ€.

The Netherlands participates in test

Today, a test begins with the technical side of the system involving 18 EU Member States. According to the European Commission, the Netherlands will test as of tomorrow. โ€œThis will allow Member States to work with the system and ensure that they are ready when the system is delivered at the end of Juneโ€. In the opinion of the European Commission, there is therefore no need for an additional six week implementation period.

The

technical side of the system works as follows: Member States must provide citizens eligible for the Covid Pass with a QR code. This code must then be able to be stored or printed by citizens in an (possibly national) app. Member States must have the control app to verify validity.

Political questions

The negotiations on the political questions are proceeding well, according to the European Commission. They don‘t share Rutte’s doubt. On Saturday, the demissionary Prime Minister said that โ€œit is only waiting to see if that date will be metโ€.

Rutte and the Commission are referring to triangular negotiations between the Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament. It will decide which vaccines are eligible for a COVID travel pass, how long a negative test certificate is valid and whether and how Member States can impose additional rules on people who register at a border with a valid QR code.