The EU heads of state and government want to speed up the European corona vaccination campaign across the EU at their EU summit on Thursday and Friday. This is a “top priority”, wrote EU Council President Charles Michel in his letter of invitation on Tuesday. To this end, vaccine production is to be boosted and deliveries of vaccines expanded. At the same time, the summit wants “more transparency and predictability of supply” with vaccines.
In the letter, Michel did not address the dispute among the EU states about a correction mechanism for the vaccine quantities deviating from the population key for the individual EU states. According to reports, Michel is looking for a solution before the summit, which starts at 1 p.m. on Thursday.
Germany has opposed the redistribution of corona vaccines in the European Union called for by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) and other countries. Kurz has Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic on his side. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has also proposed using ten million additional doses from Biontech / Pfizer for compensation.
US President Joe Biden will take part in the video summit of EU heads of state and government on Thursday, the EU Council leader announced in his letter. He would share his vision of future cooperation with the Europeans.
With regard to Turkey, Michel only referred to the EU summit in June. The Europeans wanted to increase their engagement with Ankara in a “gradual, conditional and reversible manner”. Michel also wants to inform the summit participants about his recent contacts with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The relationship between the EU and Russia is at a low point following the imposition of EU sanctions in the wake of the Navalny affair.
Briefly warns of the division of Europe before an EU summit
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) warns before the EU video summit on Thursday and Friday of a split in Europe due to the issue of the distribution of corona vaccines. “We cannot have any interest in the fact that the gap within the European Union is widening more and more in terms of vaccination coverage for the population and that we are thus creating second-class EU member states,” Kurz told the German daily “Welt” on Wednesday.
Kurz once again emphasized that the heads of state and government had agreed in January to distribute the vaccines proportionally according to the population key. However, it turned out “that the vaccines were not delivered according to the population key, but according to the quantity ordered,” criticized the Chancellor. He wanted to address the issue at the EU video summit, said Kurz, because without a correction, some EU states would achieve herd immunity as early as the end of May, while other countries would not achieve herd immunity until late summer or towards the end of the year.
He supported the goal of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen “completely” to enable 70 percent of all adults to have a vaccination by the summer, Kurz emphasized to “Welt” This goal would also have been achieved if the original distribution key according to population size had been adhered to, said Kurz.
Austria, along with Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, pushed for a readjustment of the distribution. But above all the German federal government had so far opposed the demands. The German Secretary of State for Europe Michael Roth argued on Tuesday that some states, including Austria, had not exhausted the vaccine contingents they were entitled to based on their population size. These quantities were offered to other EU countries. “I do not see at all constructing a conflict that needs healing from this,” said Roth. “I currently see no reason to change anything in this transparent and very fair procedure,” said Roth. (Apa)