“The Covid European Digital Certificate is the symbol of an open and safe Europe that is opening with caution, putting the protection of the health of our citizens first”. Thus the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on the occasion of the entry into force today of the Green pass. Twenty-one member states, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, have already started issuing certificates before today’s deadline and five EU countries start today.
“The vast majority of EU member states are already connected to the Green pass system” and “are ready to issue and verify certificates. More than 200 million certificates have already been generated,” added von der Leyen. “In March, we promised to have an EU-wide system to facilitate free and safe travel within the EU by the summer holidays. We can now confirm that the EU’s Covid digital certification system is in place and We are helping Europeans to recover the freedom they value so much. “
Europe’s race to save summer crosses the finish line. Just three and a half months after the first courageous but debated announcement in Brussels, everything is ready for the debut of the Covid green pass, the pass designed to give Europeans the freedom to travel to the Old Continent after the paralysis caused by the pandemic. And to repopulate beaches, cities, mountains and places of art, helping tourism to raise its head.
Suitcases in hand, from today you just need to have your pass in paper or digital format with you to cross national borders and no longer be subject to restrictions. But not only that: compared to the initial idea of using it only for travel, now Brussels is encouraging Member States to agree and use the document also to ensure safe entry to concerts, festivals, theaters and restaurants. Averting the much feared “risk of confusion and fragmentation”, too often typical of the EU, also evoked by the European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, responsible for the success of the project since its inception.
Technical tool but not “open sesame”, the pass consists of a QR code to keep in your smartphone or pocket, like those of airline tickets, with three alternatives to prove you can travel: having completed the vaccination cycle, having tested negative a swab, or be cured of Covid-19 and have developed antibodies. On paper, in short, everything is fine, but there are still opaque points. Starting from the validity of the same green pass. The vaccination test in most countries is valid after fourteen days after receiving the second dose (or the single dose, for single doses), but for example in Austria it is only recognized after 22 days. The same goes for the negative results of the swabs, accepted depending on the country between 72 and 48 hours prior to the trip. And also the possibility of incurring exceptions and unilateral measures such as quarantines and prohibitions for entry and exit on the various national territories remains present. Because the recommendations established at EU level are not binding.
To all this is added the specter of the Delta variant, which could quickly change the epidemiological framework and the rules on the Continent, re-proposing divisions and disheartening citizens. For now, all that remains is to strengthen themselves with the green pass, continuing in any case to extricate themselves from the weekly maps of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Ecdc) on the levels of contagion in the various regions and the Re-Open EU platform. , which contains all the updated information on the various national measures.