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European Green Pass: how it works and when it starts

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Pass, here we go. Since when? The European system that will make it possible to issue the Digital Green Certificates, or Green Passes, valid throughout the EU, will be “technically operational” next June 1st.

A senior EU official in Brussels explains how it will work at beraking latest news in view of the start of interinstitutional negotiations between Parliament and the Council on this very issue and which should begin next week.

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The countries involved in the first phase

The practical implementation of the certificate will depend on the negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council, but the aim is to conclude them and to have the regulation in force by “the end of June”. At that point, once the regulation has been adopted, the Green Pass will not be “an optional”, but a “right” for every EU citizen, by law. A first large group of countries (France, Malta, Holland, Luxembourg, Estonia, Sweden, Croatia, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, Lithuania, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Iceland and Greece) will start the test phase “around 10 May “.

Second phase

A second group (Latvia, Romania, Cyprus, Ireland, Portugal, Poland, Denmark and Slovenia) will start the tests “towards the end of May”, while another five (Hungary, Belgium, Norway, Liechtenstein and Slovakia) have decided not to participate in the tests and to connect to the platform directly during the implementation phase.

How does it work

The certificate will certify, through an app with a QR code or in paper format, the vaccination against Covid-19 and the number of doses received, the cure from Covid in the previous six months and the presence of the relative antibodies (by means of test), or the negative result of a swab, Pcr or rapid (the technical details on this will be negotiated by the co-legislators). It will then be up to each Member State to establish the entry requirements for its territory: these are exclusively national competences and the EU cannot impose anything in this field. Can only recommend.

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No magic wand

The Pass will not be the magic wand that solves everything, but it should facilitate travel in Europe, compared to the current situation in which they are still very difficult: “If today someone from Belgium wanted to visit a relative in Italy for three days, they should five days of quarantine in Italy ”, the senior official recalls. He should then “fill in four forms, take a PCR test and then take another one to stay in Italy for three days. And, when he returns to Belgium, he should do another seven days of quarantine, with two PCR tests. In all, four PCR tests, 11 days of quarantine, with the police coming to ring the intercom, to visit a person for three days in another Member State. This is the situation today and it should not be forgotten ». With the Green Pass, or Digital Green Certificate, “we will have a secure system that respects privacy, which proves that you are vaccinated, swab, etc.” Of course, the requirements for travel will depend on “the Member States and the epidemiological situation” at the end of June. «This part is not up to the technical system, which in any case will be synchronized with the regulation. By the time the regulation enters into force, the system will be operational. And then – concludes the source – there is a path to take with the Member States to harmonize the requirements for traveling ».

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