Throughout the afternoon, state and government leaders argued over the distribution of vaccines. Austrian President Kurs calls for redistricting. Eventually, a special guest joined.
EU countries are finally looking for more speed in vaccinating against the corona virus. President Angela Merkel and other heads of state and government argued for several hours in a video conference on Thursday. In talks with Turkey, it was agreed to provide an opportunity for closer partnership with the country as the natural gas dispute is eased. The resumption of Atlantic relations was honored with the short digital arrival of US President Joe Biden.
Vaccines: Distributions are expected to increase
The EU currently has the lowest vaccine – but the vaccine should pick up speed soon. In the next three months, three times as many vaccines will be available from the beginning of the year, said EU Commission President Ursula van der Leyen.
So far, of the nearly 450 million EU citizens, at least 62 million have been vaccinated at least once and 18.2 million twice. EU countries are expected to receive about 100 million vaccines by March 31. Pharmaceutical companies have pledged $ 360 million for the months from April to June.
Controversy over vaccines hours
The shortage of vaccine caused several hours of controversy. Austrian President Sebastian Kurz and others are urging some countries to get more. Along with Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, Kurs complains of a random distribution. 27 states argued throughout the afternoon. If there is no solution, the EU could be damaged, “Kurs said before the summit,” because we have not seen this for a long time.
Sebastian Kurz attends an EU video summit: Austria’s president calls for redistribution of corona vaccines (Source: Reuters)
The imbalance in the distribution of vaccines is due to the fact that not all EU countries buy the quantities they deserve based on their population. AstraZeneca’s distribution problems have left some states behind. Austria is likely to back down as it has not resolved its quota for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which will be available from mid-April.
Shelter for Turkey
Turkey was a tough partner for the EU last year: concerns about the gas dispute, the rule of law and human rights dominated the relationship. Nevertheless, 27 states decided on Thursday to begin preparations to expand the customs union. For example, it could boost trade in the agricultural and service sectors. The opportunity for visa liberalization was implicitly offered to Ankara. This is in response to Turkey’s decision to end controversial gas exploration near the Greek islands and outside Cyprus.
Regardless of the gas dispute, the camp wants to strengthen cooperation in immigration policy. The main concern of the EU is that Ankara is taking action against unwanted immigration to EU countries. To encourage this, the EU Commission is preparing to provide further financial assistance for the care of Syrian refugees.
US President Joe Biden as guest
The Atlantic Alliance has been severely affected in recent years. To mark the resumption, new US President Joe Biden joined in the evening. As mentioned earlier the exchange should not take too long. According to the White House, Biden wanted to resolve the Atlantic relationship, the fight against epidemics and climate change, but also foreign policy issues towards Russia or China.