The travel certificate is close to being given approval. | Fernando Villar


On Thursday, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of PCR tests being free in order to avoid any discrimination with people who can travel because they have been vaccinated.

This was one of the "red lines" set by MEPs for negotiations with member states and the European Commission for the introduction of the vaccination certificate before the end of June. This certificate, it has been proposed, should be called the EU Covid-19 certificate and not the digital green certificate, which gives an erroneous impression of being linked to environmental issues.

The parliament agreed with the European Commission that the certificate should be a free document for everyone and that it can be in either digital or printed format. It should in no way be understood to be a "passport"; it will be a document with medical information to adapt pandemic restrictions to the traveller. It will certify that the holder has been vaccinated, with which vaccine; that the holder has been immunised by having overcome the virus; or that a negative PCR test has been carried out within 72 hours of travelling.

Regarding the price of tests, a spokesperson for the parliament said that is not something that Brussels has taken into account in its initial proposals regarding the certificate and travel. This is because the price is a matter for member states. Nevertheless, there is a call for a maximum price to be set for diagnostic tests that are not linked to obtaining the certificate. There are, therefore, two issues with tests where the parliament is concerned; the other is that they should be free in order to be able to obtain the EU Covid-19 certificate.

A further demand of MEPs is that certificate holders should not be subject to additional restrictions, e.g. quarantine or further tests on arrival.

Spain's foreign affairs minister, Arancha González Laya, has yet to say whether the Spanish government agrees with the parliament's requests. But she has stressed that the government is pleased that the approval of the certificate is "ever closer" to being endorsed.