Lawmakers demand clarification about Covid-19 certificate

They also underlined the lack of consensus around the issue of acquired immunity

Photo: EP Didier Reynders.

Two weeks after the EP’s decision to accelerate the approval of the Digital Green Certificate, the Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) discussed on Tuesday different aspects of this recently proposed 'document' that should facilitate safe and free movement, with EU Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders and with the European Data Protection Supervisor Wojciech Wiewiórowski.

During the debate, Commissioner Reynders reiterated that the aim of the proposal is to facilitate free movement and non-discrimination of EU citizens during the pandemic and provides for the creation of free digital or paper certificates on Covid-19 vaccination, testing and recovery, and would be limited to the pandemic.

Commissioner Reynders told MEPs that the Commission is ready to complete the necessary technical infrastructural work by the end of June, and that the certificate would not result in a central database created at the EU level.

Many speakers warned against the certificate becoming a ‘de facto’ precondition for travelling in Europe, undermining its intended purpose of facilitating free movement. They urged the Commission to remain vigilant and enforce free movement in the face of potential moves by member states.

Lawmakers also pointed to the lack of consensus around the issue of acquired immunity and noted that the Commission will need to take into account future scientific developments and international standards when designing the certificate. The situation of those inoculated with vaccines not currently recognised by EMA, was also raised in the discussion.

LIBE MEPs demanded as well clarifications on the relationship between the EU certificate and similar but separate national initiatives in member states considering their own health certificates. Other MEPs also pointed out that citizens urgently need access to affordable PCR tests in order to avoid potential discrimination against those not vaccinated

Talking with Wiewiórowski, who presented the joint opinion by the EDPS and the European Data Protection Board on the Commission’s proposal, MEPs stressed the need to have high data protection standards in line with EU data protection rules and privacy by design in technical solutions as well as clear definitions of who is responsible for data collection and processing.

 

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