Airlines warn of delays, talks with UK continue
Four major airline and airport associations have warned of an inconsistent approach by European Union member states to the bloc’s Covid-19 travel program, which is due to be officially launched tomorrow (July 1 ).
EU countries will from tomorrow be legally required to accept Covid Digital Certificates (DCCs) issued in other Member States, as part of a health card program aimed at making travel easier this summer. It should also be accepted in other EEA countries (Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway) and in Switzerland.
Discussions are also continuing between the EU and the UK and US on how to integrate countries’ Covid-19 vaccination certificates into the EU system. No timetable has yet been given on this, but an EU spokesperson said talks with the UK are progressing well.
EU Covid Travel Health Card: Is integration with UK and US progressing?
A DCC is a document proving a person’s Covid-19 status, whether it is a certificate showing their vaccination status, a negative test result, or the traveler has tested positive for Covid-19. during the previous two weeks to six months.
But in a letter to EU heads of state, the associations say at least 10 different approaches are being used or being revised for use in the EU to verify certificates.
This could lead to longer queues at airports and longer check-in times for travelers, the groups say.
The four associations are Airlines for Europe, Airports Council International, European Regions Airline Association and International Air Transport Association.
“With the peak summer travel season, the EU fortunately has a number of tools and measures available to enable and support the restart of air connectivity, alongside travel and tourism,” the associations said in the joint letter.
“We urgently need Member States to implement these tools in a harmonized and efficient manner. We see them as essential prerequisites for travel, to avoid long passenger queues and waiting times which would create new health risks and inevitably lead to operational problems for airports and airlines ”.
DCCs are issued by each EU member state and must be accepted as proof of a person’s Covid-19 status within the bloc from tomorrow.
The rules by which the authority checks the certificate – whether it is airlines, border officials or the traveler himself – vary across the EU.
Countries have an additional six weeks to put in place certificate issuance and verification systems that meet EU standards. To date, 21 out of 27 countries, including France, have already implemented these systems.
A spokesperson for the European Commission said The connection he expects the other six to be ready soon, if not tomorrow.
He said DCCs are “part of the solution, not the problem”.
“The reason we brought forward the idea of DCCs is to avoid any fragmentation,” he said.
“The certificates will facilitate unrestricted movement and the work of authorities and the travel industry.
“But it’s up to the Member States to organize that.”
European Commissioners Didier Reynders, Thierry Breton and Stella Kyriakides sent a letter to the 27 EU countries on Monday June 28, calling for “swift and consistent implementation” of an EU recommendation on restrictions on free movement and DCC.
The EU has defined a common approach to Covid-19 travel measures in the block involving a color-coded card that defines countries’ Covid-19 risk level.
The recommendation aims to make the travel rules related to Covid-19 consistent.
The French traffic light travel system for countries takes a similar approach.
Germany this week banned non-essential travel from Portugal and introduced a mandatory on-arrival quarantine for those who have one for fear of the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19.
Portugal is listed as orange under the EU’s travel program, which means it recommends member states not to introduce quarantine for people arriving from there for essential reasons. Germany is therefore deviating from the EU’s approach.
The European Commission spokesperson said: “The Commission strongly encourages Member States to implement the recommendation [on free movement] as soon as possible…”
“This should be best done before July 1 to ensure that the measures comply with the EU’s Covid digital certificate. “
What is the European health pass?
The EU’s Covid digital certificate system aims to make it easier to move around the bloc by synchronizing the certificates issued in each country proving the Covid-19 status of people.
France updated its vaccination and Covid test certificates on June 25 to make them compatible with the EU system.
Read our article here explaining how you can get COVID-19 test and vaccination certificates in France compatible with the EU system – How to make sure your French Covid certificates will work for travel in the EU
You can also read the following articles explaining how the France health card works with the EU system: France vs EU Pass: what’s the difference? and the European travel health pass: the French can now access it.
In short, a Covid-19 test or vaccination certificate issued in one EU member state must from July 1 be accepted by other EU member states as long as it is in the correct European format. These bear the words “EU Covid digital certificate”. French vaccination certificates or Covid test certificates issued in recent days should already look like this.
From tomorrow, if you have older documents already scanned in the TousAntiCovid application from France, it should be possible to update them by clicking on them and then choosing ‘convert to european format‘from a menu.