ATHENS — Greece and six other European Union member states on Tuesday are introducing a vaccination certificate system, ahead of the rollout of the program across the bloc on July 1.
The other countries are Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Croatia, and Poland, according to the European Commission.
Greece has been pressing for the commonly-recognized certificate that will use a QR code with advanced security features, and the idea was originally put forward by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
"It declares our readiness for a safer and freer summer and I want to congratulate all those who have worked together so that an idea that the Greek government first expressed is now implemented and Greece is at the forefront of this important digital tool," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday during a cabinet meeting.
The documents will have both digital and paper forms. They’ll be free of charge, distributed in the national language plus English and be valid in all the bloc’s countries.
“EU citizens are looking forward to travelling again, and they want to do so safely. Having an EU certificate is a crucial step on the way,” EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said.
Greece's digital governance minister, Kyriakos Pierrakakis, said easier travel will open up within the EU as member states adopt the new verification standard.
"The European digital covid certificate will be available as of Tuesday. It is a very dynamic process. The platform in gov. gr has already been launched, the last details will be ready in the next few hours," Minister of Pierrakakis said on Tuesday in an interview with SKAI TV.
As for what is provided, he stated that "you can receive this certificate in three cases. When you are fully vaccinated, when you have recovered from Covid in the last six months and when you have tested negative in the last 72 hours."
The minister pointed out that the certificate will be valid from 1 July in the EU.
From today, citizens can print it and travel to the countries that they will accept it. "It is one of the biggest projects that have been carried out," he stressed.
Kyriakides said in the next few weeks, all EU nations need to "fully finalize their national systems to issue, store and verify certificates, so the system is functioning in time for the holiday season.”
The digital green certificate is the digital proof that a person has been vaccinated against the pandemic, either tested negative or has recovered from Covid-19 disease. The aim is to facilitate the safe free movement of citizens within the EU during the pandemic. Thus, Greek citizens can enter the Unified Digital Platform, gov.gr, and issue the green pass using either their personal passwords to Taxisnet or their AMKA number.
The EU Commission believes that people who are vaccinated should no longer have to be tested or put into quarantines, regardless of where they are travelling to or from, starting 14 days after receiving their second shot.
Member countries, however, have not yet endorsed that recommendation.