Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz said his country and Denmark plan to stop relying solely on the European Union for coronavirus jabs, German media outlets reported on Tuesday.
Kurz said both countries plan to work with Israel to produce second-generation vaccines.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) was being “too slow” to approve vaccines and that his nation “should no longer be dependent only on the EU” for jabs, Austrian Chancellor told German tabloid Bild on Tuesday.
According to Politico’s Brussels Playbook, Kurz and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen are to “seal a vaccination deal” with Israel at a meeting with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday.
While Israel has vaccinated a large part of its population, the EU has faced criticism for its slow vaccine rollout and slow approval of the vaccines themselves.
In a further splinting of EU vaccine solidarity, Poland is asking China for vaccines.
And Slovakia has ordered two million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, which is yet to be approved for use by the EMA. The decision has proved controversial, however, with Slovakian parliament member Tomas Valasek quitting the government coalition over the plan to order doses from Moscow.
The bloc’s procurement scheme was further undermined on Sunday when Hungarian PM Viktor Orban posted a photo on social media showing himself being inoculated with the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, which has also not been approved by the EMA.
Meanwhile, European countries left with a shortage of vaccine doses by the EU’s stuttering procurement process are reportedly turning to the “grey market” in their search for more jabs.
Indeed, EU nations are beginning to take “pitches from around the world at often exorbitant prices”, says The New York Times. Sellers offering millions of doses of coronavirus vaccines “have approached EU governments”, the paper reports, and “some nations are also trying to negotiate directly with drug makers and eyeing the murky open market where they are still unsure of the sellers and the products”.
What is happening over the anti Covid vaccines so fast and nervously in the EU ranks lately brings to my mind the often- heard slogan: "Leave No One Behind". Later it was replaced by the "EU-first" policy, but now almost nobody talks about it.
As Michael Meyer-Resende noted in his column under the headline: Leave Everyone Behind'? – The West's Covid nationalism, carried by EUobserver on Wednesday it seems that we are really saying: "Leave no one behind – but only once we are safe"? Joe Biden already confirmed that he sticks to an 'America First' approach to vaccination.
Leaders in democratic countries as Albania claims to be don't have and cannot have the freedom to ignore their own population and leaving them at the mercy of the unknowns of the vaccines market. They cannot 'sweeten' the stance towards people claiming that their commitment is loyalty to Pfizer or one or two companies, western ones, for which small countries like Albania are on the back of the list of supplies. The tragic situation haunted by the shadow of deadly virus calls for immediate and energetic action far from politicizing it. Brussels is not impressed by playing with words like PM Edi Rama did on Monday hinting other alternatives will be sought by him. It is an old story; Brussels has got used to his 'jokes'.
The abyss in front of Albanians is very steep and no life should be lost because of politicized commitments the coating of which is the bitter pill which is being taken by dozens of fatalities every day.
The massive convincing advice of medical specialists that Chinese and Russian vaccines are an alternative should be heeded carefully and immediately, the reality should be taken for what it is. Leaders of Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, Turkey, North Macedonia, Montenegro and of many other countries have been very pragmatic to consider seriously the issue in which the emergency is timing. After 14 or 24 months, the contradictory promised deadlines of concluding the vaccinating process, the fatalities will be so high and the economic and social devastation so disastrous which will haunt all those responsible for such a tragic calamity in Albania for the rest of their life, of course if justice is not done. /argumentum.al