European regulators propose digital green light for travel

The European Commission has proposed a digital certificate enabling free movement within the European Union during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Digital Green Certificate, which will be available for free and in paper format, will use QR codes and act as proof that a traveler is vaccinated against the virus, has a negative test result or has recovered from the virus.

A statement says the Commission plans to build a “gateway to ensure all certificates can be verified across the EU, and support Member States in the technical implementation of certificates.”

It adds that personal data of certificate holders will not pass through the gateway or be retained by the Member State verifying the travel pass.

It will be down to Member States to decide which restrictions to lift for travelers in general and will have to apply any waivers to holders of the Digital Green Certificate.

The certificates will include name, date of birth, date of issuance, relevant information about vaccine/test/recovery and a unique identifier of the certificate.

Věra Jourová, vice-president for values and transparency, says: “This is a good message in support of recovery. Our key objectives are to offer an easy to use, non-discriminatory and secure tool that fully respects data protection. And we continue working towards international convergence with other partners.”

The certificate, which is said to be a temporary measure, will be also issued to non-EU nationals who live in the EU and visitors who have the right to travel to other Member States.

The Commission says the proposal needs to be quickly adopted by the European Parliament and the Council to be ready in time for the summer.

At the same time, EU countries need to put the technical standards in place, ensuring interoperability, so that the certificate can be rolled out.

A study from Amadeus, involving 9,000 travelers, reveals that almost 75% of travelers would be happy to store health data electronically if it meant fewer face-to-face interactions at the airport.

However, respondents raised three main concerns with 38% saying they worried about personal information being hacked, a quarter raising concerns about the health information being shared and 30% saying lack of  transparency and control over where data is shared.

Amadeus added expanded its Traveler ID platform recently enabling passengers to show health documentation in a secure way.

The full report from Amadeus is scheduled to be released later this month.

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