EU hopes to extend COVID-19 travel certificates until July 2023
The EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate (DCC) isn’t likely to go anywhere anytime soon, as the European Commission hopes to extend the relevant legislation until June 30, 2023.
EU to extend COVID-19 certificates until next summer
The EU certificates were launched last summer in order to facilitate travel throughout the bloc in spite of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and various travel restrictions, and while a number of countries across Europe are opting to lift all remaining restrictions, the European Commission has proposed an extension of the DCC legislation
In a statement on Thursday, the Commission said the virus “continues to be prevalent in Europe,” and that it was not possible to “determine the impact of a possible increase in infections in the second half of 2022 or of the emergence of new variants.”
Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, argued the legislation was necessary in order to avoid the risk of “many divergent national systems” and unnecessary confusion and obstacles for travellers. “We cannot predict how the pandemic will evolve, but we can make sure that citizens continue to benefit from a certificate that works and is accepted wherever they go,” Reynders said.
Changes to EU DCC legislation
In addition to the extension of the current travel rules, the EU is considering a number of minor adjustments to the legislation. Namely, the bloc wants to widen the scope for COVID-19 testing, allowing for high-quality laboratory-based antigen tests to also be accepted as valid. The Commission would also like those who are participating in vaccine trials to receive a valid COVID-19 certificate.
Lastly, the Commission wants to ensure that all vaccine doses are registered, regardless of which member state administered the dose. The current system means that Dutch citizens and residents who are vaccinated in a different EU member state are not able to access their vaccination certificates via the CoronaCheck app. Instead, they have to use the app from the country in which they were vaccinated.
New validity rules for Dutch vaccination certificates
With the European Commission planning changes to the EU digital certificates, the Dutch government is also looking to adjust national rules about QR codes in the CoronaCheck app. Earlier this week, Health Minister Ernst Kuipers announced that vaccination certificates would soon only be valid for a maximum of nine months.
While this new legislation was set to some into effect on February 4, the government announced on Thursday evening that the policy change had been postponed, and would now come into effect on February 8. The Ministry of Health has confirmed that the validity of certificates is automatically adjusted in the CoronaCheck app, and that users will receive an in-app notification if their certificate is set to expire.