Distribution – EU upset about Kurz over vaccination criticism

According to a report in the Financial Times, the European Union, in contrast to Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP), does not want to grant Austria any extra vaccination doses as part of the distribution of ten million additional Biontech / Pfizer doses. “Kurz will not get a single extra dose,” the “FT” quoted an unnamed responsible EU official on Monday. Kurz’s broadsides against Brussels’s vaccination management caused consternation among EU countries.

Brussels diplomats had reprimanded Kurz for using the EU as a “scapegoat” and doing domestic policy with the vaccines, the newspaper also wrote in its online edition. It is noted in the article that the German Chancellor Angela Merkel had not met the Austrian Chancellor during his visit to Berlin the previous week. “The EU is used as part of Austrian finger-pointing,” the FT quoted an EU official as saying.

According to diplomats, the most likely candidates for preference in the distribution of the ten million additional Biontech / Pfizer vaccine doses are Estonia, Latvia, Bulgaria and Croatia, the report said. About a third of the ten million cans are said to be made in these EU countries. The remaining part of the delivery is to be distributed proportionally to the EU countries.

EU video summit from Thursday

Kurz had said the previous week that the European Union was close to a solution to correct existing deviations from the population key in corona vaccine deliveries. He had indicated that as part of the correction, Austria could receive around 400,000 missing doses by the summer. Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens), on the other hand, said at an online press conference on the vaccination campaign in Vienna on Tuesday afternoon that 200,000 of these Biontech doses would be in Austria, which roughly corresponds to the population key. The EU states must decide on the distribution by consensus.

If Austria does not make it onto the list of states that receive additional vaccination doses, this would further heat up the tensions between Kurz and other EU heads of state and government before the EU video summit that begins on Thursday, writes the FT. Should no agreement be reached on the distribution of the doses, the ten million vaccine doses would be distributed proportionally and without corrections among the EU countries.

Kurz, together with the Prime Ministers of the Czech Republic (Andrej Babis), Slovenia (Janez Jansa), Bulgaria (Bojko Borissow), Latvia (Krisjanis Karins) and Croatia (Andrej Plenkovic), called for a correction mechanism for a fairer distribution of corona vaccination doses. Otherwise, the current ordering system would “create and deepen huge inequalities among member states by the summer”, they wrote to EU Council President Michel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. In January the EU heads of state and government agreed on a distribution based on population size.

The EU Commission and several EU states had denied secret agreements. Rather, not all EU states have bought all of the vaccines offered to them, the remaining doses have then been bought up by other EU states. (apa)

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