MEP Manders: Ease the access to COVID19-certificates in paper!

Member of the European Parliament, Toine Manders (NL, EPP) has put forward a written question to the Council of the EU on ‘digital green certificate’. He highlights the burdensome procedure in the Netherlands to receive a paper version of the certificate, barring the digitally excluded from participating in social life.

The digital COVID certificate allows to proof vaccination against, recovery from or negative testing for COVID-19 in all EU member States. With the easing of lock-down measures, many activities such as entering shops or eating out are now conditional on the presentation of such a certificate.

In some member States, residents who have been vaccinated can call a telephone hotline to receive a paper version of their certificate, in order to allow the digitally excluded to receive their papers and continue participating in society as everyone else. However, callers are confronted with long waiting times.

MEP Toine Manders – Photo credit: European Parliament

Waiting times are long and callers are often simply told to apply online. This is precisely what they wanted to avoid.

MEP Toine Manders

Mr Manders asks the Council what steps it undertakes to allow the digitally excluded, of which many older persons are part, to access their certificates.

The Council responded to the written question by pointing towards the Council recommendation on the Digital COVID certificates, indicating that member states shall provide the certificates in a digital or paper form, or both. In the response, the Council also underlines that the format has to follow the choice of the person to whom the certificate belongs.

The Council did not respond to criticisms on the difficulties in actually obtaining these certificates, however.

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COVID19 and long-term care: Social Affairs + Civil liberties committees hold a joint hearing

On 28th January 2021, the EP Committees for Employment and Social Affairs as well as for Civil Liberties, Home Affairs organised a hearing on the “Consequences and lessons from the COVID-19 crisis for people living in residential institutions: a social and human rights perspective” in presence of Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica, and Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli. AGE Platform Europe, was invited to deliver his views together with the European Disability Forum, the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities, the Fundamental Rights Agency and the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions.

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