International travel: The European Union struck a deal on Covid cards to clear the way for summer travel

The European Union has reached an agreement on Covid-19 certificates designed to open up tourism this summer.

Members of the European Parliament and the incumbent Portuguese president of the European Union signed the agreement after a fourth round of negotiations on Thursday afternoon.

The certificate will take the form of a QR code on a smartphone or paper, allowing authorities to determine the visitor’s status based on records in their country of origin in the European Union.

Certification will show whether the person has been vaccinated, recently had a negative test or had immunity based on recovery.

Lawmakers wanted countries to commit to a free certification exam, and said no country in the European Union should put in place additional quarantine requirements.

EU officials have said Germany and Sweden have been among the opponents, although European Union countries in general are reluctant to drop their last word on border controls.

Ultimately, EU countries agreed to refrain from imposing additional restrictions, such as testing or quarantines, unless deemed necessary for public health reasons, the Employment Practices Policy said in a statement.

The European Commission, which has also participated in the negotiations, has committed to providing 100 million euros in emergency support funds to help make the tests more affordable, with an additional 100 million euros if needed.

The interinstitutional agreement is supposed to allow the European Parliament to pass a law in the week beginning on June 7 and for more than a dozen countries in the European Union, including France and Spain, to test the system before launching it at the end of June.

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The certification scheme is separate from plans to open the European Union to shielded visitors from outside the European Union.

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