Bulgaria will join on Friday the European testing of the digital green certificate system, which the EU is preparing to introduce in the summer to facilitate travel in Europe. 18 European countries and Iceland, which is a member of EEA, will conduct tests of the system for connection to the common server in the next two weeks, as the "Bulgarian day" is on May 14.
The tests will include the exchange of certificates for authentication, the ability to connect to a common European server, as well as data compatibility, said European Commission spokesman Johannes Barque.
"It is not planned to work with real certificates, the goal is to test the operation of the system," he said. The EU is preparing to introduce a system for mutual recognition of vaccination documents and laboratory test results for COVID-19. It must be operational before the start of the active summer season.
The plans are for most countries to connect to the central server and go online from June 1, and by June 21 the system will be operational throughout the union. The digital green certificate will serve as proof in the EU that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or has recovered from the infection and has antibodies. Its aim is to facilitate free movement in the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic. The certificate will be free of charge and will be recognized in all Member States, as well as in several other European countries.
Each certificate is electronically signed and will be verified with a public signature key. The keys of the various issuing authorities (vaccination centers, test laboratories, hospitals, etc.) will be deposited in the national directories with public keys, from where they will be accessible from inspection bodies in other EU countries.
The personal data of the certificate holder will not pass through the system in order to preserve his/hers privacy. It will only verify the digital signature, Barke explained.
The European Commission provides the central server and the certification system. Each country must make an application or digital portal for issuing certificates, an application for storing a smartphone, with an alternative version of paper, and a scanning solution for verification.
To shorten the time it takes to make them, the European Commission has offered governments open source reference applications for all three applications. They are manufactured by SAP and T-Systems. However, member states can also develop their own applications or use existing ones.
The technical specifications were adopted on April 21. The European institutions are negotiating the final text of the regulation on the digital green certificate.
The European Parliament wants the tests to be free of charge and the member states will have a six-week transition period during which the European system operates in parallel with national travel rules.