With a few weeks before the start of summer, Europeans are ready to leave behind a year and a half of restrictions and confinement due to the pandemic. With a clear objective: to be able to travel in summer.
To facilitate the movement of Europeans, the European Union has decided to create a travel certificate. The document will come into operation on July 1 and will be registered in it if you have been vaccinated, if you have recently had the disease or if you have a negative PCR of less than 72 hours. It will be free for all citizens of the European Union and will be available both digitally and on paper.
So is it a travel document, as many of those who have not yet been vaccinated fear? The president of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, explains that this is not the case. “We are not talking about a passport. We are not talking about a travel document. It is not a requirement to travel. It is a mechanism. It is an instrument that will facilitate movement, as well as the arrival and transit of travelers “, assures.
Despite the agreement at the European level, some crucial aspects of its implementation remain in the hands of the Member States.
For example, if children traveling with their parents will need negative PCR, even if their parents are fully vaccinated.
Many countries have set the minimum age for PCR at 6 years, including Spain, but there are some exceptions. Like Portugal, which wants children over the age of two who enter the country to have a negative CRP. Therefore, parents should check what measures are applied in their holiday destination before their trip.
And it is that for now, those under 16 years of age cannot receive a vaccine against Covid-19. Although the EMA is expected to announce on Friday whether to authorize the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for adolescents.
“There is more and more debate to organize a vaccination of young people between 16 and 18 years in different member states. Otherwise, we will try to help make testing affordable. This is the reason why we have put on the table a first idea about rapid antigen tests since they have an affordable price of less than 5 euros per test “, defends the European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders.
A low price that is far from the high cost of PCR tests in some countries, where they can cost more than a hundred euros.
In operation as of July 1
Now the certificate must overcome the last legal hurdles, something that is expected to happen soon.“_It is expected to be adopted in the first plenary session in June, the plenary week of June 7, and that it can enter into force, provided that the member states ensure the rapid implementation of the necessary critical infrastructure, on July 1. And therefore, that they are good news that will make a difference when the summer of 2021 arrives and it will not resemble the nightmare of 2020 “_, points out the Socialist MEP in charge of the negotiations, Juan Fernando López Aguilar.
The goal is for the certificate to make travel easier and not to become an unnecessary bureaucratic hurdle.
Also, it is a temporary measure. The document will disappear when the pandemic is officially over and free movement between the countries of the European Union returns.