BRUSSELS — Pressed by member states desperate to save the summer tourist season, the European Union on Wednesday proposed a Covid-19 certificate that would allow people to travel more freely.
The proposed document, known as a Digital Green Certificate, would allow European residents and their family members to travel at will across the bloc, so long as they have proof of Covid-19 vaccination, a negative test result or a documented recovery from the virus.
The certificates would be free and available in digital or paper format.
“The Digital Green Certificate will not be a precondition to free movement, and it will not discriminate in any way,” Didier Reynders, the bloc’s top official for justice, said, adding that the aim was to “gradually restore free movement within the E.U. and avoid fragmentation.”
Freedom of movement is the cornerstone of the bloc, but travel restrictions are traditionally under the purview of national governments. The commission’s plan is yet another bid to coordinate what is now a chaotic patchwork of disparate national measures, significantly hindering travel within the previously borderless zone.
the largest European countries suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine over reports of a few cases of serious blood clots among people who received it. The suspension could be lifted soon, but severe production problems have made millions fewer AstraZeneca doses available.
The problems have been an embarrassment for the European Union and its executive arm, the Commission, which took control of the procurement process, although member states are responsible for issuing vaccinations.
But Europeans, held under one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world, are experiencing a deep pandemic fatigue, further complicating the way out of the crisis.
The commission also laid out a long-term strategy to gradually lift the lockdown measures, conditional upon each country’s epidemiological situation. A judgment would be made based on simulations by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the commission said.
“The situation with the virus in Europe is still very challenging,” said Stella Kyriakides, the bloc’s top health official. “It is only through a joint approach that we can return safely to full free movement in the E.U.”