EU lawmakers approve virus travel certificate

EU lawmakers approve virus travel certificate
© Greg Nash

Lawmakers in the European Union endorsed a travel certificate on Wednesday that would allow people to travel between member countries without having to quarantine or take extra COVID-19 tests, The Associated Press reports.

The certificate program is aimed at opening up popular vacation destinations in Europe in time for summer as tourist-dependent regions seek to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The regulation on the vaccine certificates were adopted in two votes, one for EU citizens and one for those outside of the EU.

The AP notes that the EU's 27 member countries currently all have differing COVID-19 travel standards, which creates problems for both airlines and travelers.

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The regulations dictate that all EU countries must recognize the vaccine certificates for one year beginning on July 1. The certificates will be issued freely and will come in both digital and physical copies for those who are fully vaccinated, recently tested negative for the coronavirus or have recently recovered from the virus.

For the first six weeks, the rules around the certificates will not be heavily enforced in order to allow countries time to adjust. Countries including Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Germany and Greece have already begun using the system, the AP reports.

On Wednesday it was reported that the Biden administration was creating working groups to look into reopening travel between the U.S., Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom and the EU.

"While we are not reopening travel today, we hope that these expert working groups will help us use our collective expertise to chart a path forward, with a goal of reopening international travel with our key partners when it is determined that it is safe to do so,” a White House official told Reuters.