EPP says National governments must stop blocking EU COVID-19 Certificate

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The EPP Group in the European Parliament has accused national governments of derailing efforts at adopting a common EU Covid-19 Certificate to facilitate travel within Europe. While the Parliament is pushing for a binding regulation, some countries have pushed for a recommendation which, besides bypassing Parliament, would not impose any legal obligations.

“Despite the fact that we proposed balanced compromises regarding the cost of testing and the restriction of free movement, we didn’t manage to find an agreement”, said Jeroen Lenaers MEP, EPP Group Spokesman in the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties and Home Affairs Committee. “We don’t have much time, we need a united approach to restart the economy, tourism and to save the summer”, Lenaers continued.

The EPP Group said in a statement on Wednesday that it wants to introduce the EU COVID-19 Certificate as quickly as possible, arguing that anyone who has such a certificate should be allowed to travel freely across internal European borders again. Member States should not add other travel restrictions on top.

“We insist that testing for the purpose of the certificate must be free of charge in order to avoid discrimination and we ask for a European solution. For this reason, we proposed the use of the Emergency Support Instrument to assign the money needed for free testing. Time is running out and we have to work it out together. The EU Member States have to lift their blocking position and move forward in order to have the certificates up and running in June”, concluded Lenaers.

Discussions are expected to continue on Thursday, but positions remain far apart, with Politico.eu reporting that the two sides cannot even agree on the name. MEPs are insisting that it be called an “EU COVID-19 certificate” rather than a “digital green certificate,” which they consider as a misnomer.

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