EU leaders are facing a debate on vaccines or vaccination passports

Updates: 21.01.2021 00:17

Brussels / Berlin – How can the European Union work together to prevent the spread of new coronavirus mutations or how to make progress on the distribution of vaccines and covid-19 vaccines as soon as possible. The presidents and prime ministers of the member states will try to find a unified answer to these questions in today’s video conference. Political leaders will also talk about the possible introduction of EU-wide vaccination certificates, which could make it easier for people to travel across borders, for example. Germany is considering including the Czechia in the list of high-risk areas.

Some Member States, including Germany, have been calling for severe restrictions in recent days due to new mutations in the virus, which are considered more contagious. Berlin called for joint action, otherwise it is ready to resume controls at the German border, as it fears the situation in the Czech Republic, for example. The Heads of State and Government will discuss the European Commission’s recommendations that one of the responses to the spread of new mutations should be to monitor them more closely in the people being tested and to strengthen the tests overall.

According to EU officials, today the leaders of the countries will not adopt any binding joint conclusions, but rather discuss what procedure the individual states intend to choose. Any restrictive measures are a matter of national competence alone, and a number of EU countries have indicated in recent days that they are considering tightening them up due to mutations in the virus.

The topic of debate will also be the vaccination process, which is moving at different speeds in the EU countries. Some countries complain that they receive fewer vaccines from pharmaceutical companies than they expected. Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen is likely to try to reassure leaders today that Brussels will put pressure on manufacturers to deliver as many benefits as possible in the shortest possible time. On Tuesday, the commission set a non-binding target for states to vaccinate at least 70 percent of their adults by the summer. At the same time, she promised that despite the places of tight supplies and so far insufficient production capacity, they will have a sufficient amount of vaccine for massive vaccination by the end of March.

The Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and the leaders of Austria, Denmark and Greece, who asked the President of the European Council Charles Michel in a letter on Wednesday, also want to discuss the approval of vaccines by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and speed up their production at the video summit.

Today, leaders will also discuss for the first time the possibility of issuing a single “vaccination passport”, which is being promoted especially by tourists who lack southern European countries such as Greece or Portugal. However, according to the commission, the preparation of a possible electronic certificate is only possible after the issues of privacy protection or discrimination against unvaccinated people have been resolved.

Today, Germany could include the Czech Republic on the list of epidemically high-risk areas, as it significantly exceeds the limit of 200 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days. If this really happens, it will be necessary to have a negative test for coronavirus on the way to Germany when crossing the border, it is still possible to have the analysis done after arrival. The current exemption for Czech commuters who submit one test per week in Saxony and Bavaria should be maintained.

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Source: České noviny – hlavní události by

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