Friday. 31.03.2023

European Commission proposes that Covid pass expire after 9 months

EU issues new updated recommendations for Covid-19 travel rules
20 November 2021, Italy, Turin: People take part in the No Green Pass rally. Italy made the green pass (EU Digital COVID Certificate) compulsory to enter all public and private workplaces on 15 October. Photo: Tino Romano/ANSA via ZUMA Press/dpa.
People take part in the 'No Green Pass rally' in Rome. Italy made the EU Covid pass compulsory in workplaces on 15 October. Photo: Tino Romano/dpa.

The European Union should focus on the vaccination status of a traveller rather than geographic zones for its domestic and external travel rules, according to proposals from the European Commission that would come into effect in January.

European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynder said in a press release the move is to "avoid diverging measures throughout the EU."

He said a person in possession of the EU's digital vaccination certificate should not be subject to additional travel restrictions.

EU member states should recognize vaccinations as valid for nine months after their course is complete, the EU executive branch said.

With the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) now endorsing booster shots after six months, the extra three months should give EU governments time to get their populations jabbed again.

In a similar move, European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said EU member states should give priority to the vaccination status rather than the place of departure of travellers arriving in the EU for non-essential travel.

However, a negative PCR test would still be required for a traveller immunized with a vaccine not recognised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The commission also proposed a nine-month validatity period after the vaccine course is completed for the vaccinations of travellers arriving in the EU.

Ending countries register

Johansson also proposed ending a register of countries outside of the bloc where travellers, regardless of their vaccination status, may arrive from March of next year. The commission said this is due to growing vaccination uptake globally.

With rising numbers of Covid-19 cases, EU governments are readying booster campaigns and setting new standards for vaccination status. The EU executive branch is moving to maintain cohesion in the bloc's coronavirus response.

When Covid-19 first hit Europe, all EU states except for Ireland plus non-EU states Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland agreed on a far-reaching entry ban for non-essential travel.

EU member states later developed a so-called "green list" of countries outside of the bloc where arrivals were permitted entry.

The commission updates the list on a two-weekly basis depending on the Covid-19 situation in each country. However, national governments still retain the final say on who may enter their territory.

European Commission proposes that Covid pass expire after 9 months