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24th Oct 2021

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Vaccines in focus in the EU This WEEK

  • EU citizens started receiving vaccines at the very end of last year, in a process that will last many months (Photo: European Commission)

Vaccines remain the number one topic for the continent in the new year after nine months of Covid-19 deaths, lockdowns, and economic hardship.

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen last Friday (8 January) said that the EU executive had secured a further 300 million doses from the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.

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But the commission refused to answer questions on whether Germany secured an extra 30m doses outside of the EU contracts, which could have been a breach in the EU-27 agreement to negotiate collectively.

On Tuesday (12 January), the European Parliament's environment committee will hear from the person who negotiated the contracts, commission director-general of health and food safety, Sandra Gallina.

MEPs are expected to discuss the EU's procedure to approve the vaccines, what stage of the review process various vaccines have reached, as well as the quantities bought by the EU.

On Wednesday, the centre-right EPP group hosts an online event on the European health union, with the participation of CEOs of Pfizer, BioNTech, CureVac and the chief medical officer of Moderna, according to their press statement.

Commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas, research commissioner Mariya Gabriel, and health commissioner Stella Kyriakides will also take part.

The parliament will also start the steps to approve the EU-UK deal on the future cooperation reached on Christmas Eve last year.

A debate in the trade committee on Monday (11 January) will kick off the process, and continues on Thursday with a meeting held jointly with the foreign affairs committee.

MEPs will discuss the text and later decide to recommend it (or not) for approval by the plenary.

MEPs on the committee on foreign interference will on Monday discuss the first series of working documents prepared by Latvian MEP Sandra Kalniete on disinformation, the role of the social media platforms, cybersecurity and the financing of political actors.

Parliament president David Sassoli will meet Kosovo's acting president and speaker of parliament Vjosa Osmani, on Tuesday.

Osmani last Wednesday dissolved the parliament and called for early parliamentary elections on 14 February, after the Kosovo Constitutional Court issuing a verdict ruling the election of Avdullah Hoti's government last June illegal.

On Friday , von der Leyen plus commission members will travel to Lisbon to mark the start of Portugal's EU presidency.

EU agency authorises Moderna vaccine amid blame-game

The European Medicines Agency has authorised the use of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by US company Moderna - while the EU is involved in a blame-game over a sluggish vaccine rollout across member states.

EU leaders to discuss vaccine roll-out this month

EU leaders regularly held video-conferences to coordinate the pandemic reaction last year, but countries and EU institutions recently began a blame-game over the sluggish roll-out of vaccines.

Opinion

Together Europe can beat pandemics, Alzheimer's, cancer

Let's expand the EU with a Health Union where cutting edge research and world-class applications go hand in hand. For this, it is worth being European, believing in Europe, working on Europe, writes European People's Party leader Manfred Weber MEP.

News in Brief

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  3. Emissions from La Palma volcano reach Brussels
  4. Body of eighth victim of Belarus border-crisis found in river
  5. Report: Syrian bank fiddling currency to evade EU sanctions
  6. Nato adopts plan to counter new Russian threats
  7. Alleged killer of British MP 'felt affiliated' to IS
  8. Coronavirus: Belgium returns to 'red' zone

Analysis

Commissions's new migration pact still seeking 'landing zone'

Last October, the European Commission gave an optimistic outlook on the adoption of its migration and asylum pact. EU commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas said its pact on migration was lowering the landing gear - suggesting agreement was possible.

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