Wednesday

17th Apr 2024

EU vaccine-sharing could have 'strategic' value

  • Kiev: Ukraine, as well as Georgia and Moldova, want to join the EU (Photo: Marco Fieber)

The EU should share corona-vaccines with former Soviet countries on its eastern flank, according to 13 foreign ministers from member states in the region.

"We believe that our borders will not be safe if we do not extend our support to our immediate neighbours. Our Eastern Partners have on numerous occasions expressed their appreciation for the EU's Covid-related assistance and pleaded for facilitated access to the vaccine," the ministers said in a letter to the European Commission on Wednesday (6 January).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The "Eastern Partners" are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.

Some of them, such as Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, want to join the EU in future.

Two of them - Azerbaijan and Belarus - are dictatorships with no interest in reform, while Armenia is being held back by Russia from building closer EU ties, amid competition for influence in the region.

Belarus, which is under EU sanctions, has also deliberately infected opposition activists with Covid-19, by packing them into crowded cells with known corona-sufferers, as a means of terrorising the pro-democracy movement there.

But despite all that, EU vaccine-aid, would "send a strong and coordinated message on the strategic value of the EaP [Eastern Partnership, an EU policy for building closer ties with the six states]," the 13 EU ministers said.

"We are confident that our efforts will be appreciated by the governments and civil society of the EU Eastern Partners and will increase the visibility of the geopolitical efforts of the commission and of the whole EU," they added.

The EU already had a vaccine-support scheme for Western Balkan countries, they noted.

The 13 ministers came from EU states on or near to its eastern borders - Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Sweden.

The EU already was already in talks with Western Balkan governments on vaccine-sharing, they noted.

And it should also consider rolling out its generosity to North African and Middle Eastern countries in future, they added.

"Being aware of the pandemic situation in the southern neighbourhood, we should also be ready to support this group of countries, if they express their interest," the letter said.

For its part, the EU commission said the same day it was already "exploring" their ideas.

"Vaccines are a global public good," a commission spokeswoman told press in Brussels.

And EU institutions were in talks with member states to create a "mechanism for facilitating donation and resale of vaccines the have been obtained via EU advance purchases," from global pharmaceutical companies, the spokeswoman added.

"The EU is safe when all EU neighbours are safe," Lithuanian foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis also said on Twitter.

"The current lack of vaccines is indeed temporary," he said.

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.

EU faces long wait for full vaccine supplies

The EU is still several months away from having enough vaccines to inoculate its 450 million people, with Pfizer and BioNTech, its principle suppliers, aiming for September for delivery targets.

Agenda

Vaccines in focus in the EU This WEEK

The European Parliament's environment committee will hear from the person who negotiated the vaccine contracts, commission director-general of health and food safety, Sandra Gallina.

Commission silent as Germany buys own vaccines

The European Commission refused to comment on whether a bilateral deal between Germany and BioNTech for 30 million additional vaccines is a breach of EU collective purchase agreements - which forbid member states from negotiating separate deals.

EU targets vaccinating 70% of adults by summer

The European Commission has announced targets to accelerate the roll-out of vaccination, and the intention of "a common approach" on possible vaccine certificates. Both topics will be discussed by EU leaders on Thursday.

Latest News

  1. EU leaders mull ways to arrest bloc's economic decline
  2. Police ordered to end far-right 'Nat-Con' Brussels conference
  3. How Hungary's teachers are taking on Viktor Orban
  4. What do we actually mean by EU 'competitiveness'?
  5. New EU envoy Markus Pieper quits before taking up post
  6. EU puts Sudan war and famine-risk back in spotlight
  7. EU to blacklist Israeli settlers, after new sanctions on Hamas
  8. Private fears of fairtrade activist for EU election campaign

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us