The EU-wide travel system was launched on Thursday, allowing European citizens to resume travel throughout the European Union without quarantine, a move designed to help promote tourism in the summer.
The European Union’s “digital green certificate” will allow Europeans with certificates of vaccination, Covid-19 test negative, or certificates of recovery from the virus to travel to other member states. The app-based certificate provides travelers with a QR code, enabling them to avoid being quarantined in other member states.
The certificate was approved by EU governments and members of the European Parliament in May. It was launched under pressure from southern economies that rely on tourism and desperately need summer tourists.
The system is now available in all 27 member states and has been tested in many countries before it is launched. According to the European Commission, more than 200 million certificates have now been downloaded.
Brussels has been under pressure to develop a coordinated travel system to prevent member states from imposing their own rules. Airlines and the tourism industry are also calling for technology to promote safe travel for vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens.
European Commission President Ursula von der Lein said: “European digital certificate is a symbol of an open and secure Europe. It is cautious and open and puts the protection of the health of our citizens in the first place.”
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Citizens from outside the EU can enter the EU if they have been fully vaccinated with the vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency. Member states can also choose to allow travellers who have received other injections urgently approved by the World Health Organization.
“It currently requires a lot of paperwork to travel to and from Greece,” said Isidora Chandeli, manager of the Verina Boutique Hotel on Sifnos. “European passports will make this process easier.”