Status: 02/10/2021 1:14 p.m.
EU Commission chief von der Leyen has admitted errors in the procurement of corona vaccines. She wants to prevent future bottlenecks with a task force. In the European Parliament, however, she had to listen to serious allegations.
In dealing with the corona pandemic, the EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen admitted that it had failed to procure vaccines. “We were late for approval,” she said in the European Parliament. “We were too optimistic about mass production and maybe we were too sure that what we ordered would actually be delivered on time.”
Task force should accelerate supply
So far, 26 million vaccine doses have been delivered and more than 17 million people in Europe have been vaccinated, von der Leyen continued. She reiterated the goal of vaccinating 70 percent of the adult population in Europe by the end of summer. For this, her authority will “work as hard as possible”.
Von der Leyen promised to prevent further bottlenecks in the delivery of corona vaccines. That is why her authority has set up a task force to prevent further production problems, for example through bottlenecks in the supply of ingredients.
The head of the Commission also defended the common European approach to vaccine ordering. “I hate to imagine what it would have meant if a few large member states had got vaccine and the rest came away empty-handed,” she said. “What that would have meant for our internal market and the unity of Europe.”
Criticism and demand for resignation
Apparently, she could not convince MPs of the Left and the AfD in the European Parliament. The re was talk of a debacle and failure of the Commission. “ The last few weeks have shown that the European Commission is overwhelmed with fighting pandemics and is not fulfilling its responsibility,” said the left-wing parliamentary group leader Martin Schirdewan. His co-chair Manon Aubry called for the immediate establishment of a committee of inquiry.
The AfD MP Jörg Meuthen accused von der Leyen of “excessive inability” and demanded her resignation.
The commission received cautious support from the ranks of the Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals. “Not everything went perfectly, but the key decisions were the right ones,” said Conservative leader Manfred Weber.
The CSU politician particularly emphasized the “great work” of Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, which was also recently the focus of criticism. Doing things together “was and remains the right recipe,” said the Greens’ co-chair, Ska Keller.
The social democrat Iratxe García warned against “nonsense” and called for a constructive search for solutions.
EU Parliament approves Corona development fund
The European Parliament today gave the green light for the multi-billion Corona build-up fund of 672.5 billion euros. Now the member states still have to agree. EU Commission vice Valdis Dombrovskis said in the plenary debate in Brussels that a quick procedure is envisaged.
The development plan could therefore be signed on Friday.
The money is intended to combat the consequences of the pandemic and be invested in a targeted manner. At least 37 percent of the expenditure per country should go into climate protection, and one fifth into digitization.
The funds should also be used to promote youth, economic and social cohesion and the strengthening of institutions. As things stand, Germany could get 22.7 billion euros.
With information from Jakob Mayr, ARD-Studio Brussels
Vaccination strategy: von der Leyen admits errors and promises transparency
Jakob Mayr, ARD Brussels, February 10th, 2021 10:50 am