In a rather critical article, Politico blasts Germany's choice to receive more doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, as well as the Commission's stance, which not only does not impose sanctions on Germany, but does not even acknowledge that This is contrary to the agreement of the European Union and to European solidarity in general.
“Germany reiterated on Friday that it will receive more doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine against coronavirus, in addition to the European vaccine framework, and yet the Commission refuses to understand that this violates the European Union agreement,” Politico wrote. “A spokesman for the German Ministry of Health confirmed in a press conference on Friday that 'we will receive about 60 million doses of the vaccine from BioNTech, due to European contracts and 30 million doses from bilateral agreements.' In total, that is, 90 million given a year. “This is something we have achieved regardless of the European circumstances.” “Germany secured 30 million doses of the vaccine in September, in violation of the EU's vaccination strategy, which barred countries from conducting parallel negotiations.”
Politico continues: “Less than two hours before the announcements of the German representative of the Ministry of Health, the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Layen, stressed that the EU member states can not enter into independent agreements.
“It is legally binding, ” von der Leyen said, adding that “we have all agreed and we are legally bound that there will be no parallel negotiations, no parallel contracts. We all work together. “
This back and forth has caused a great deal of confusion over the past week, with Germany and the EU waving their fingers at each other, with German politicians and the media calling the EU deals “catastrophic”, arguing that it has not provide several doses.
The vaccination plan has become a huge issue in Germany, as will Angela Merkel's success as Chancellor. The government also denied all allegations that the vaccination plan was moving slowly because Berlin was part of the EU's purchasing system.
Several German news sites reported on Friday that the health minister, who became the focus of the debate, had been heard as the next leader of the ruling Christian Democratic Party. Span last week promised that any German who wanted to be vaccinated by the summer would do so.
The reaction from Brussels was the announcement by von der Leyen on Friday morning that the Commission had secured up to 300 million doses of the German-American vaccine.
Since June, von der Leyen has been emphasizing that the vaccination strategy in European countries is a tax in solidarity with the EU. All Member States have agreed to buy the installments together in order to increase the Union's bargaining power and ensure equal access. The promise came true, as almost all countries began vaccinations on December 27th.
But the news, of an additional German deal with BioNTech (and CureVac), angered the EU, adding to the criticism from Berlin, which brought to the surface the first crack in the country's strategy for vaccinations. In response, the Commission largely refused to acknowledge Germany's contradictory actions.
During the 45-minute process, the Commission's chief spokesman, Eric Mammer, repeatedly avoided answering questions about the breach of the strategy and what the Commission would do in such a case.
“We have signed an agreement with BioNTech / Pfizer and we are focusing on that,” he said. Asked if the Commission would take action against anyone who violated the agreement and secure more, Mamer replied: “We are certainly not going to discuss possible legal measures.”
Mamer then urged reporters to “see the big picture.” “What matters at the end of the day is to have enough doses, yes or no?” He said, adding: “Let's see where we started and where we have reached today – that matters.”
A Commission official said on Thursday that Germany's agreement with BioNTech / Pfizer did not infringe on the terms of the strategic plan “in its spirit”, as the country's installments would be secured by agreement with the Commission.