EU/Presidency: Von der Leyen travels to Lisbon with Covid-19 digital certificate

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, travelled this morning to Portugal with the new EU Covid-19 digital certificate and acknowledged she was “curious” to see how this document that aims to facilitate the return to free circulation works.

Shortly before departing for Lisbon, where she will formally announce the approval of Portugal’s Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) – the first stage of a European tour which will take her to five capitals this week to announce the validation of the respective national plans -, Von der Leyen made a short statement to the press at the Commission’s headquarters in Brussels to show off the new certificate, operational since today in Belgium.

“Before Easter, we promised Europeans that we would do everything possible to enable them to gain some normality when planning their well-earned summer holidays. Last Monday, the European Parliament and the [EU] Council signed the EU Covid-19 digital certificate regulation. It applies from 1 July, but each member state can voluntarily anticipate its application, and that is what Belgium has done,” he began.

“Belgium authorises since today travel with the certificate, and they already issue it. And here is mine,” he said, then showing for the cameras the certificate with the QR code downloaded on her mobile phone.

Von der Leyen said that “all those who are already fully vaccinated, or have tested negative or recovered from Covid-19 can have one” certificate, with, at the moment, 15 member states already using it, “and from 1 July, all 27 member states have to apply these certificates”.

“I will now start my tour of the 27 member states in the framework of ‘NextGenerationEU’, our recovery and resilience plan, and I am very curious to test and see how this certificate works,” she concluded.

Von der Leyen is expected to arrive at 11:30 (Lisbon time) at the Ciência Viva Centre, at the Pavilhão do Conhecimento, one of the projects to be funded by the RRP, and, after visiting the centre, she will meet with António Costa.

At the end of the meeting, at 13:15, the two will hold a joint press conference.

From Lisbon, Ursula von der Leyen will head to Spain, later today, and then to Greece and Denmark, where she will be on Thursday, and Luxembourg, on Friday, already equipped with the covid-19 digital certificate, whose regulation was signed last Monday in the European Parliament, in Brussels, in a ceremony attended by António Costa, as President-in-Office of the EU Council, until the end of this month.

Portugal has already been successfully testing the certificate recognition system, which it starts issuing this week.