From 1st July 2021, EU travellers will be able to freely enter Malta with a vaccine certificate issued in their home country.
Maltese citizens wishing to travel to other EU nations will also be able to use their vaccine certificates to freely travel through there as well.
The EU has highlighted that these vaccine certificates will be in effect for 12 months yet Malta’s legal notice has stated that vaccine certificates will be valid for six months.
This news follows MEPs giving the final greenlight to the EU Digital COVID-19 certificates, which aims to help ease up free movement across the EU and allow safe and coordinated travel throughout the bloc this summer.
Certificates will be issued free of charge by national authorities and be available in either a digital or paper format containing a QR code. The document will certify whether a person is vaccinated, has had a recent negative test result or has recovered from the infection.
This package, meant to help re-establish free movement across the EU, will aid in setting the pace towards full function to the EU’s Schengen area even as the fight against the pandemic continues.
MEPs were also successful in securing an agreement that EU states will not be able to impose additional travel restrictions on certificate holders (such as quarantine, self-isolation or testing) “unless they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health”.
Such measures should be notified, if possible, 48 hours in advance to member states and the Commission. The public should also be given a 24-hour notice in advance.
EU states are further encouraged to ensure that testing remains both affordable and widely available. At the request of the Parliament, the Commission has promised to mobilise a total of €100 million so that member states can purchase tests to issue the test certificates.
Europeans are looking forward to travelling again, and the EU Digital COVID Certificate will make it happen safely! ☀️
— European Commission 🇪🇺 (@EU_Commission) June 6, 2021
Today’s plenary session passed the package with 546 votes to 93 with 51 abstentions for EU citizens. Meanwhile, the regulations for third-country nationals was passed with 553 to 91 and 46 abstentions.
EU states will be able to freely decide whether they also will accept certificates for vaccines authorised following national authorisation procedures or vaccines listed by the WHO for emergency use.
Yet, all EU countries must accept certificates issued by the other member states for vaccines authorised by the European Medicine Agency (EMA)
Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee and rapporteur on the package, highlighted that the “Parliament has set the pace to restore free movement and a fully functional Schengen while we continue to fight this pandemic”.
“The EU Digital COVID Certificate will function from 1st July and will ensure safe and coordinated travel this summer.”
All personal data used for the certificates will be processed in line with the General Data Protection Regulation, with certificates being verified offline so that no personal data is retained.
From here, the text of the package will have to be formally adopted by the Council. It will be published in the Official Journal for immediate entry into force and application by 1st July 2021.
This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
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