EU COVID passport scheme starts on July 1

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European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders says the European Union's COVID-19 certificate should be up and running by July 1, hailing a freshly struck deal on the scheme as "good news for all European citizens."

However, a six-week transition period will follow for member states that need more time, the commissioner added. This covers most of the peak tourism season of July and August.

The scheme will allow EU citizens to "circulate more freely within the EU in total health safety" and will support economic sectors dependent on free movement, Reynders told journalists in Brussels on Friday.

Negotiators from the member states, the European Parliament and the European Commission agreed on the details of the document on Thursday evening.

Three types of certificate will be available free of charge and on paper or digitaly; one attesting vaccination with an EU-approved shot, one showing negative test results and one for people who have recovered from a Covid-19 infection.

Once the plan is fully implemented, member states should in principle refrain from imposing any additional travel restrictions like quarantine requirements on certificate holders.

The idea is that the certificates can be read anywhere in the bloc, no matter which EU country issued it.

"All member states must get fully ready during the month of June, so they can hit the ground running," Reynders said, adding that the commission was offering technical support and cash to help.

The national governments and the EU legislature must also formally sign off the deal before it can launch.