What does the EU’s Digital Green Certificate mean for EU citizens and where do we stand?

On 17 March 2021, the European Commission presented a proposal to create a Digital Green Certificate to facilitate the safe free movement of citizens within the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is a Digital Green Certificate?

A Digital Green Certificate is digital proof that a person has either been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result, or recovered from COVID-19.

How will citizens get the certificate?

National authorities oversee issuing the certificate. It could, for example, be issued by hospitals, test centres, health authorities. The digital version can be stored on a mobile device. Citizens can also request a paper version. Both will have a QR code that contains essential information and a digital seal to make sure the certificate is authentic.

Next steps

By the summer, the European Commission will set up a digital infrastructure that would facilitate the authentication of the Digital Green Certificates. The Member States are asked to introduce the necessary changes in their national health records systems.

The Commission is working with the World Health Organization to ensure that certificates issued in the EU can be recognised elsewhere in the world as well. The Commission is also in contact with ICAO, the international organisation representing air travel.

Reactions from the Member States

A first large group of countries (France, Malta, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Estonia, Sweden, Croatia, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, Lithuania, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Iceland, and Greece) will start the testing phase “around 10 May”. A second group (Latvia, Romania, Cyprus, Ireland, Portugal, Poland, Denmark, and Slovenia) will start testing “towards the end of May”, while five others (Hungary, Belgium, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Slovakia) have decided not to participate in the tests and to connect to the platform directly during implementation.