EU member states and the European Parliament and have reached provisional political agreement on the rules governing the proposed Digital Covid Certificate, which is aimed at opening up travel in the bloc during the summer.
The European Commission said the deal meant that the certificate, previously called the Digital Green Certificate, was “well on track” to be ready by the end of June.
The Irish Government is expected to announce its plans for international travel next week. Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said the Government expected to be able to issue the documents by the end of July.
EU countries will still have flexibility, however, on how they use the certificates.
Digital and paper
The commission president, Ursula von der Leyen (pictured), said the certificate would be free of charge, secure, and accessible to all, adding that it “fully respects” citizens' fundamental rights, including protection of personal data.
The document provides proof of vaccination against COVID-19, or proof that the holder has tested negative for, or recovered from, the virus.
Under the agreement, it will be available in a digital and paper-based format, and will contain a digitally signed QR code.
System ready 'in days'
EU member states will also be able to use the document for internal purposes.
The commission says countries should not impose additional travel restrictions on those holding the certificates “unless they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health”.
The commission president said that, at EU level, the system would be ready in the next few days.
“It is now crucial that all member states press ahead with the roll-out of their national systems to ensure that the system can be up and running as soon as possible,” she said.