The main groups in the European Parliament this Wednesday claimed that the tests for the detection of coronavirus, which are linked to the new European certificate to facilitate the travel of tourists this summer, are free as they are currently “unaffordable” in some member states and this is linked to discrimination between Europeans.
“The certificate must be free and so must the tests, since the tests are unaffordable in some Member States and it cannot be that it has an prohibitive price and is therefore discriminatory, a test that is compulsory,” warned the President of the European Parliamentary Justice and Home Affairs Commission and spokesman for these acts, the socialist Juan Fernando López Aguilar.
In a debate with Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders and State Secretary for European Affairs of Portugal and the current EU Presidency Ana Paula Zacarias, MEPs have largely shown their support for a certificate that will help restore the basics, but they have guarantees for data protection and asked that these are not used by governments to take additional national measures.
The aim is to reach an agreement between the EU institutions in time so that the certificate can be ready by the end of June, and the technical work being carried out in parallel to ensure that its interoperability progresses at a good pace, Reynders said in the debate the Europeans.
Both the Community Executive and the 27 gather in their negotiating positions that the tests must be “accessible” to all Europeans, but they avoid going as far as the European Parliament requires to ensure that they are free are.
“We share the opinion that the tests should be affordable for all citizens, but the problems related to reimbursement of medical expenses, such as the coronavirus tests, are the responsibility of the Member States,” he shielded Reynders in the debate with MEPs to point out later that this is a “complex” issue affecting public and private actors.
Renew Europe’s MEP, Dutch Liberal Sophia in ‘T Veld, has replied that freedom of movement is “a right and not a privilege”, so Europeans “do not have to pay for it or take privileges,” the reason Reynders reminded that the Commission has powers in the internal market and asked him for “creativity”.
For his part, Zacarias has stated on behalf of the council that the free trials at this negotiation are not part of their regular mandate, but they are open to researching formulas to “reduce or eliminate” their costs.
Reynders and Zacarias have also pointed out the safeguards that the certificate offers with regard to data protection, as, among other things, the medical information that the certificate will collect is limited to the essentials.
MEPs are calling for more guarantees to prevent the data from being stored in a European database and want to make it clear that it is a “temporary” instrument that is solely related to Covid 19 and therefore after the end of the pandemic is disregarded.