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MEPs raise questions about the new Digital Green Certificate

MEPs raise questions about the new Digital Green Certificate

According to them, data security, privacy and non-discriminatory movement should be prioritised in the new tool

On Tuesday, 14 April 2021, European Parliament members debated with EU Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders on the newly proposed Digital Green Certificate and addressed concerns about data security and the implementation of the new tool. The Commissioner emphasised the proposal's goal of facilitating free movement and non-discrimination of EU people during the pandemic.

The European Commission has already presented the Digital Green Certificate as a new requirement when travelling between countries. It will indicate whether an individual has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has recovered from the virus, or has a negative test result.

The Digital Green Certificate will be limited to the duration of the pandemic and would include the development of free digital or paper certificates on COVID-19 vaccination, testing, and recovery. Commissioner Reynders told MEPs that the Commission is prepared to complete the required technical infrastructure work by the end of June and that the certificate will not result in the development of a central database at the EU level.

Certificate to promote discrimination-free movement

One of the concerns about the new certificate is that it might create restrictions on the free movement between countries. The certificate would become a "de facto" requirement for travel in Europe and they urged the Commission to remain alert and enforce free movement.

MEPs also emphasised that the Commission would need to consider potential scientific advances as well as international standards while developing the certificate. The condition of those who have been immunised with vaccines that are not currently accepted by the EMA was also brought up during the debate.

Another topic addressed at yesterday’s meeting was the need to cooperate between the EU certificate and the national health certificates that are also starting to develop. Other MEPs have also stated that people urgently need inexpensive PCR tests in order to prevent future discrimination against those who have not been vaccinated.

MEPs emphasised the importance of having high data protection requirements that are consistent with EU data protection laws, privacy by design in technical solutions, and specific definitions of who is responsible for data collection and processing.

Following that, during its next session, the EP plenary is required to adopt the mandate for negotiations with the EU Council, which could include amendments (26-29 April).

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