Angela Merkel risks sparking EU vaccine fury in bid to secure jab deal with Joe Biden
Angela Merkel outlines plans for European Health Union
The German Chancellor has already suffered concerning attacks by the leaders of other member states after it was alleged she was trying to secure more doses of the coronavirus vaccine, contrary to EU rules. Now Angela Merkel’s own Health Ministry admitted the German leader was “keen to enter into talks” with the new US administration.
The document released on Tuesday sets out a response by the German Government to the country’s Social Democrats on why specific dates for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine production for doses assigned to EU member states are yet to be confirmed by the US producers.
The German Health Ministry stated that an executive order from the US President meant that production facilities in America had “encouraged to initially make vaccine available for supply in the USA.”
European production sites, on the other hand, will have to supply the rest of the world as well as all EU27 member states.
“The companies, as well as the federal government, are keen to enter into talks with the new US administration in order to reach adjustments,” wrote the health ministry in a bid to convince the newly sworn-in US President Joe Biden to make changes to the order.
We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.
The move would serve in the entire Brussels bloc’s favour but it could be seen as yet another attempt by the German Chancellor to secure more vaccine doses for her own country.
Germany has already been criticised by other EU member states after seemingly trying to secure an extra 30 million vaccine doses, something that goes against the bloc’s effort to implement a united vaccine strategy.
The document released by the Health Ministry explained the move was justified by bilateral contract the country had signed with BioNTech after providing the pharmaceutical company with extra funding.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, the German Chancellor called for a united EU approach to the tackling of the pandemic.
She said: “We currently have to find that all our efforts against the virus cannot ignore one danger, our efforts are threatened by a danger.
“And we can see this danger a bit more clearly today than we could at the beginning of the year and this is the virus mutation, as it is mostly found in Great Britain and in Ireland, but also in the Netherlands and in Denmark and other countries as well as here.
“So far the information points to the mutated virus being much more infectious than the coronavirus we have known for a year and this is the main reason for the massive increase in the number of infections in England and Ireland.
Merkel Covid crackdown: Germany to DETAIN lockdown rule breakers [INSIGHT]
Merkel successor Laschet on collision course with Biden over China [ANALYSIS]
Angela Merkel’s successor to ‘push Joe Biden away from EU’ [REACTION]
“The virus has been found here as well, but it isn’t dominant, at least not yet. We still have to take the danger coming from this mutation very seriously.”
As EU leaders will meet in a virtual summit this evening, she added: “Tonight, the video conference of heads of states and governments of the EU will be about how we, in the entire EU, how we can fight this spread with measures that are as equal as possible, because epidemiologically speaking as the EU, we are one area.”
Referring to the new coronavirus variant found in the UK as the “British virus”, she said: “If AstraZeneca (vaccine) gets approved, which might happen next week, and if… well, if nothing else happens otherwise, I mean we now have to wait and see, the mutations pose different challenges.
“So far we have the impression the British virus does not impede and impair the efficacy of the vaccine, but the virus will continue to mutate and then it can happen that certain vaccines will have to be adjusted.
“I can’t make guarantees about any of this, but I can guarantee that we are doing our utmost to get to these vaccines.”
European Union leaders will on Thursday seek to address the coronavirus pandemic’s mounting challenges, from containing more infectious variants to the threat of border closures and the slow roll-out of vaccines across the bloc.
The heads of EU institutions have urged the leaders to maintain unity and step up testing and vaccinations, though no formal conclusions are expected from the online video conference, the ninth since the pandemic began.
The European Commission said on Tuesday that the 27 EU countries should have vaccinated at least 70 percent of adults by summer and needed to be genome sequencing at least five percent of positive tests to identify new coronavirus variants.
Vaccinations have begun slowly, with the bloc lagging the likes of Britain and Israel in terms of per-capita coverage.
EU countries expressed alarm when they found out last week that Pfizer, the manufacturer of one of only two EU-approved vaccines, would temporarily reduce deliveries.
Italy is considering legal action.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg
Source: Read Full Article