Riigikogu committee supports progress on EU digital COVID-19 certificate

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Toompea Castle, seat of the Riigikogu. Source: Kaupo Kalda / Riigikogu Office

The Riigikogu's European Union Affairs Committee has formulated and approved a position on the adoption of a common EU digital certificate, which it supports.

The Digital Green Certificate is proposed as a pan-EU solution to aid return to normal travel between the 27 member states, following disruption prompted by the coronavirus pandemic and its accompanying restrictions.

EU Affairs Committee chair Siim Kallas (Reform), former EU commissioner, said that the very right to free movement between member states was itself a cornerstone of the union's achievements.

Kallas said: "In order to also facilitate travel during the pandemic, the EU has commenced proceedings for the swift adoption of the Digital Green Certificate draft regulation," adding that the aim was to adopt the legislative framework for the digital certificate this June.

Kallas said the digital certificate was an electronic platform which would be used for submitting vaccination certificates and proof of negative coronavirus test results, along with recovery from the virus for those who had previously contracted it.

"Only essential information will be entered on a certificate, which will be issued in a digital form or on paper, and it will have a unique QR code allowing verification of the authenticity and validity of the certificate," Kallas went on.

Digital certification both speeded up border control processes and helped in combating fake certificates, he said.

The certificate is supposed to be a temporary solution which will last only until the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the COVID-19 pandemic over.

The EU has earmarked close to €50 million to implement the platform, while the tech solution produced should have future scope for use beyond both the pandemic and the union's borders, Estonia's official position has it.

The committee's deputy chair, Riina Sikkut (SDE), a former health minister, welcomed the common certificate as a unified EU solution, adding that data protection and equality in rolling out and using the scheme as regards individuals' different vaccination statuses should also be kept in mind.

Sikkut said: "No central data recording system will be created. Neither member states nor transport operators will record data. It will be possible to check a digital certificate in such a way that information on vaccination status or a negative test result is confirmed, but no data remains in any data store."

"The digital certificate will not hinder travel for non-vaccinated people. On the contrary, it can be used to prove a negative test result or recovery from disease."

Kallas' and Sikkut's statements, in Estonian with English subtitles, are here.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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