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BRUSSELS, Belgium, June 9, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — The plenary session of the European Parliament gave its final green light to the EU Digital COVID Certificate which now awaits approval from the Council of the European Union before entering into force on July 1st for a period of twelve months.

The vote was hailed enthusiastically by the European Commission, which tweeted: “We welcome the [European Parliament] vote on adopting the EU Digital COVID Certificate! This is a key step towards its implementation by 1 July, to help restart EU free movement as safely as possible. It will also give citizens clarity to plan their travel.”

Dressed up as a passport to freedom, the new COVID certificate will have national versions in all the member states and be required to be accepted as valid in the other members of the EU. With the new digital document, all travel restrictions related to COVID-19, such as entry bans, quarantine obligations, and testing, will become illegal regarding those who use the pass.

A press statement by the European Parliament said:

During the inter-institutional negotiations, MEPs secured an agreement that EU states will not be able to impose additional travel restrictions on certificate holders – such as quarantine, self-isolation or testing – ‘unless they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health.’ Scientific evidence, ‘including epidemiological data published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)’ will have to be taken into account. The measures should be notified if possible 48 hours in advance to other member states and the Commission, and the public should be given 24 hours’ notice.

Also, member states may impose further limitations if exceptional circumstances arise, such as the local appearance of a new “variant.”

The COVID Certificate will not be compulsory; “it will not be a precondition for free movement and will not be considered a travel document,” the press statement added. On the other hand, it will be possible to subject people who want to travel without getting one, and who do not want a COVID test or one of the experimental “vaccines” approved by the EU (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or Johnson and Johnson), to quarantine and other constraints, effectively turning them into second class citizens.

If the objective were to protect national populations from a highly dangerous illness, restrictions could seem only reasonable. But against this it must be recalled that early treatment has been largely proscribed or discouraged in most European countries, that death rates directly related to COVID-19 have consistently been shown to be lower than those touted by the authorities, and that in any case, people who have received the experimental jabs are not guaranteed not to be infected with COVID, and they may also spread the illness if they are infected.

This means that member states who want to act on that information, considering “vaccinated” people who want to enter into their territory while having — say — flu-like symptoms as potential COVID-spreaders, will not be allowed to do so.

Some of the opponents of the Certificate — such as Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National party in France — are in fact against the European pass not because it restricts freedom, but because it supersedes national sovereignty of the member states, not allowing them to implement more stringent measures, and in particular border closures, if they so wish.

The COVID Certificate approved by the EU Parliament is not a vaccine passport, contrary to what had been anticipated in April 2020, when the independent news site suggested that “later on, vaccination might be required for Schengen visa application,” adding that an EU official had confirmed that once the COVID-19 vaccine would be available to all, proof of vaccination might be a prerequisite for traveling within the Schengen area.

The Schengen area is the large geographical zone comprising 26 European countries that have abolished all passport and other types of border control at their mutual borders. Any third country citizen can freely travel within the zone after having entered legally through one of its external borders.

Because of COVID, restrictions applied both at the internal and external borders, and the EU Commission has been urging that measures be taken that once more allow freedom of movement within the zone … in reality, only for citizens who comply with health screening.

The Digital COVID Certificate will include information about the COVID-19 status of travelers: proof of vaccination, proof of having recovered from COVID during the last six months (180 days from the initial positive test), or a recent (72 hours) negative test result, which can be a either PCR test, a rapid antigen test that relies on detection of viral proteins (less than 48 hours), or an antibody test that shows a person has been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and developed immunity against it, according to the legislative resolution adopted by the European Parliament.

The information will be accessible to the authorities via a QR-code either on a smartphone app or in printed form. Three different certificates will exist, proving vaccination, recent SARS-CoV-2 negativity or recovery during the last six months, which appears to mean that the authorities will have immediate visual access to personal health information.

The European Union will also contribute €100 million in EU funds under the Emergency Support Instrument (ultimately contributed by taxpayers in the EU) for the purchase of tests, while the member states are encouraged to ensure that testing is affordable and widely available.

In the press release issued by the European Parliament, the EU made clear that the certificate will be issued free of charge by national authorities and that it will comply with the EU digital privacy provisions (“certificates will be verified offline and no personal data will be retained”).

However, they necessarily contain private data, prompting citizens’ organizations across Europe to voice their concerns about the possible abuse. EDRI, one of those networks, stated early on that “only offline verification with pre-downloaded signature keys” should be allowed, thus avoiding the creation of a central record of “who was where, and when.”

Of course, Smartphone connections and possible surveillance already provide a lot of information on that count. But the European rules seem to have taken some of the new concerns into account.

EDRI noted on April 29 that the COVID pass does represent a risk for “data protection and new forms of discrimination.” It stated:

Another issue that we find concerning is the uncertainty of the technology behind the certificate. It exposes individuals to the risk that extensive data records will be created on them. And this does not just concern vaccination and recovery status or past test results, as one might expect. Without the safeguards that the European Parliament has decided on, it would be technically easy to collect and store in a centralized location profiles of people’s movements, religious affiliation or even information about what they do in their free time.

Some EU member states, such as Denmark, Austria or Hungary, have already announced that they intend to also use this system to allow admission to restaurants, religious sites or sports facilities. This is where a potentially incendiary control infrastructure can be set up, allowing authorities to not only to track people's access to social events, but also giving them the potential to monitor the entire population’s every move.

How effective will the safeguards be that are set up for the European Digital Certificate? Will vaccination freedom be upheld in the long run? If this is not the case, all the instruments of control will already be in place. Already, a “common EU framework” is being set up to “make certificates interoperable and verifiable across the European Union,” as well as to prevent fraud and forgery.

To date, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Croatia, Poland, Spain, and Lithuania have connected to the European Certificate gateway and have already started issuing the passes. Other member countries may be given an extra six weeks until mid-August in order to prepare to issue certificates.

Local passes are being implemented in other European countries: as of this Wednesday, for instance, French nationals must exhibit a “sanitary pass” (giving the same kind of information as the EU Certificate) in order to join an indoor event with more than 1,000 participants.

Non-European nationals who want to travel to the EU can also obtain the EU Certificate, and it is expected that this will later be integrated into a larger international system.

The European resolution was approved by 546 votes in favor, 93 against, and 51 abstentions regarding EU citizens, and 553 votes in facor, 91 against, and 46 abstentions regarding non-European nationals.