Austria Denounces Bazaar In The Distribution Of Vaccines In EU

Austria Denounces Bazaar In The Distribution Of Vaccines In EU

The Chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz , has denounced an unequal distribution of covid vaccines within the European Union and has suggested that some governments have reached secret bilateral agreements with pharmaceutical companies, a “bazaar” that would be brewing outside of the common steps of the European Commission.

Kurz and the leaders of Bulgaria, Latvia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic have sent this Saturday in a letter to the President of the European Council , Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission , Ursula von der Leyen, in which they denounce the “enormous disparities”That will be produced in the coming months on the distribution of vaccines in the EU for what, they perceive, is an unequal distribution system.

These leaders predict in their letter that this system will end up causing that within three months, “some countries will have achieved contact immunity while others will have lagged far behind in this regard.” In the letter, the leaders of the five countries call on Brussels to convene “a conversation on this very important issue between the leaders (of the EU) as soon as possible.”

These observations were already expressed on Friday by Kurz in a public appearance in which he questioned the supposed “fair distribution” of the vaccine, ensuring that in recent weeks the population factor has not been taken into account and that this disparity threatens to “intensify” in the next few months.

Thus, he assured that Malta will have received by the end of June three times more doses per capita than Bulgaria, while the Netherlands will have double that of Croatia by then. The chancellor attributes this disparity to secondary negotiations within the commission’s special working group for covid-19.

Kurz even alluded to the alleged existence of secret contracts of specific governments with pharmaceutical companies with which the EU has negotiated joint purchases.

This statement would mean that in the EU’s contracts with pharmaceutical companies, countries would be prohibited from negotiating in parallel with these firms. “It is difficult to have information because of the secret clauses of these contracts,” he said, according to the Bloomberg news agency.

For Kurz, who has also spoken on his official Twitter account, this situation “clearly contradicts the political objective of the European Union: equitable distribution among all member states.” “If the distribution continued in this way, it would result in a very unequal treatment and we must prevent it. The 450 million Europeans must have the opportunity to return to normality in summer,” the conservative leader emphasized.

Kurz has appeared publicly to question the supposed “fair distribution” of the vaccine, assuring that in recent weeks the population factor has not been taken into account and that this disparity threatens to “intensify” in the coming months.

Thus, he has ensured that Malta will have received by the end of June three times more doses per capita than Bulgaria, while the Netherlands will have by then twice that of Croatia, according to the Austrian Chancellor, who has attributed this disparity to secondary negotiations within the special group of the Commission for COVID-19.

Kurz has pointed out the alleged existence of secret contracts of specific governments with pharmaceutical companies with which the EU has negotiated joint purchases, which in practice implies that countries are prohibited from negotiating in parallel with them. “It is difficult to have information because of the secret clauses of these contracts,” he said, according to the Bloomberg news agency.

For Kurz, who has also spoken on his official Twitter account, this situation “clearly contradicts the political objective of the European Union: equitable distribution among all member states.”

“If the distribution continued in this way, it would result in a very unequal treatment and we must prevent it. The 450 million Europeans must have the opportunity to return to normality in summer,” the conservative leader emphasized.

The Austrian Foreign Minister, Alexander Schallenberg, has referred to the controversy in a press conference in Vienna together with his Spanish counterpart, Arancha González Laya, in which he stressed that Austria is “very in favor” of the joint purchase of vaccines.

For this reason, he added, “doubts arise” when it is perceived that other countries may be adopting different strategies, although Schallenberg has assumed that “there is nothing perfect” and that “it is the first time” that these types of measures are applied. . “In the next pandemic we will do better,” he ironized.

González Laya, for his part, has also defended the “European strategy”, because he understands that in this way there are “first, second and third class citizens” and also because it is the “most effective” way of doing Facing the pandemic: “No one will be safe until everyone is safe.”

The head of Spanish diplomacy believes that there are “areas in which it can be improved” and has pointed out that Spain is “ready” for possible revisions, but has made it clear that there is “very strong support” from the Executive of Pedro Sánchez to the role of the European Commission.

THE COMMISSION RESPONDS
Asked if he believes that the distribution of vaccines is being unfair as Kurz affirms, the spokesman for the European Commission recalled that the rules of joint purchase provide that member states can negotiate among themselves changes in the items initially allocated in the distribution key created from the population in each country.

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