“To ensure that EU citizens can exercise freedom of movement regardless of the evolution of the pandemic, the plenary supported a decision by the parliamentary committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs to start negotiations with Member States to extend the certificate - which was due to expire on 30 June - for another 12 months," the EP said in a statement.

The approval took place at the plenary session of the European Parliament in the French city of Strasbourg, with the text on the Covid-19 Digital Certificate referring to EU citizens being adopted with 432 votes in favour, 130 against and 23 abstentions, and the text referring to the third-country nationals to be approved with 441 votes in favour, 132 against and 20 abstentions.

The European assembly will now negotiate with the European Council to agree on an immediate extension, so that the text can enter into force before the current rules expire.

Interim assessment

In this negotiation, MEPs will, however, request an interim assessment of the need to maintain the EU's Covid-19 Digital Certificate, which must be carried out after six months of renewal, that is, at the end of the year, in December, providing for the possibility of abolition on the basis of recommendations from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and the Committee on Health Security.

MEPs demand “that the Commission assess whether the system is necessary and proportional six months after its extension”, says the EP statement, adding that the idea is “to limit the duration of the regulation to the minimum necessary and eliminate it as soon as possible”.

At stake is the EU Digital Certificate, proof of (negative) testing, vaccination against Covid-19 or recovery from infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which came into force in the Union at the beginning of July 2021 to facilitate travel within the community space in the context of a pandemic.

The final decision on travel rests with the Member States.