Has the EU vaccination strategy failed?
After Hungary, Slovakia has now also approved Sputnik V, and the governments of Poland and the Czech Republic are openly discussing following suit. Meanwhile Austria and Denmark have set their sights on a vaccination alliance with Israel. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen want to meet with Netanyahu on Thursday. Some observers see such unilateral efforts as reckless; others see no viable alternative for some states.
Time to team up
The Netherlands should follow in Austria's and Denmark's footsteps, De Telegraaf urges:
“These countries rightly assume that no stone must be left unturned to get as many vaccines as possible. ... Our country is struggling with shortages, also because of decisions taken by the EU. ... The EU states are responsible for their own vaccination strategy and can sign contracts with third parties. Vaccines could also be approved faster by means of an emergency resolution. The Netherlands wants to act within the framework of the EU, but it would be better if it focused on joining the new 'vaccine alliance'.”
The procurement of additional vaccines by individual states is a risky move, El País points out:
“In view of the tense market situation and the growing fatigue it may be understandable that individual countries are seeking their own solution. And as long as their strategies complement the European one this is to be welcomed. But it would be a tragedy if they were to abandon the path of collective management of the situation. It will be easier to overcome this crisis if we do it together. And the temptation to take separate paths is the seed for future crises, as well as for resentment and division. Beware!”
No deal at the expense of the Palestinians
Politiken sharply criticises the actions of the Danish government:
“Instead of allowing herself to be bribed with vaccines, Mette Frederiksen should seize this opportunity to make it clear to Benjamin Netanyahu that Denmark has not forgotten the Palestinians, and will not accept vaccines that should really be going to them. In pandemics too, there must be limits to national selfishness - even if it looks like Israel has lost sight of this.”
One fiasco after another
The weekly Polityka concludes that the EU's strategy has failed:
“The EU has so far remained conspicuously silent on the subject of the vaccine renegades and is apparently at a loss about how to tackle the issue. ... Once again, at the EU level there is no unified strategy for dealing with the pandemic. ... There was supposed to be just one joint purchase, but behind the scenes negotiations took place on an individual basis. Now every state is buying whatever vaccine they can get hold of. One fiasco after another for the European Union.”
Dream on the verge of being shattered
L'Echo is disillusioned:
“At the height of the crisis, people began to dream of European and even global cooperation in the production of a vaccine that would put the most advanced technologies of the 21st century at the service of humanity. But national egoism, geostrategic reflexes, the inability of politicians to create a vision that goes beyond their constituencies, or plain and simple doubts about the vaccines are preventing this dream from taking shape. However, it's never too late to establish such unity through broader industrial cooperation and by focusing on successful examples.”