EU summit welcomes COVID certificate to unlock travel

EU summit welcomes COVID certificate to unlock travel

EU leaders on Tuesday welcomed the introduction of a bloc-wide COVID-19 pass that they hope will unlock a tourist surge this summer.

The 27 member states want the EU Digital Covid Certificate, to be launched July 1, to turn the page on coronavirus restrictions that have crimped Europeans' cherished freedom of movement.

Coupled with a separate plan to let in fully vaccinated travellers from countries outside the EU, to be defined by the middle of June, Europe believes its vital tourist industry could claw back some of the losses racked up since the start of the pandemic.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen told a media conference after the summit that more than 300 million Covid-19 vaccine doses will have been delivered by the end of this week, rising to 400 million next month.

"If we continue like this, we have confidence that we will be able to safely reopen our societies," she said, adding the EU was on track to meet its goal of fully inoculating 70 percent of adults by late July.

"Progressively, we should return to the ability to move freely throughout the European Union," European Council President Charles Michel said.

EU countries and the European Parliament struck agreement last week on the legislation to come into force mid-June for the Covid certificate. Von der Leyen said all the technological infrastructure would be ready by June 1, AFP reported.