Tomorrow, European leaders will convene for an online summit on the EU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the focus on the bloc’s strategy for speeding up inoculation and curbing the rise of infections. As EU countries struggle with delays in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, the EU faces the challenge to ensure equal access to vaccines across Europe, while coordinating the EU’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
Meanwhile, the European Council President Charles Michel reiterated the need for Europeans to work together to be able to increase productions and fully implement vaccination campaigns across Europe. Earlier this week, the Commission set out a list of actions needed to step up the fight against the pandemic and announced its goal that at least 70% of the EU’s adult population should be vaccinated by summer 2021.
While coordination and exchange remain key ingredients in Europe’s fight against the pandemic, the EU now has the chance to show leadership and international solidarity, by supporting partner countries such as the Western Balkans, its Eastern and Southern neighbourhood and Africa by ensuring their access to vaccines. During a debate in the European Parliament this week, MEPs not only called for more transparency regarding the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, but have highlighted the need for the EU to show responsibility and solidarity by helping out its neighbours and partners in times of crises.
- European Commission: Communication on “A united front to beat COVID-19”
- European Medicines Agency (EMA): Key Facts on COVID-19 Vaccines
- 21 January: European Council
- 29 January: Possible Marketing Authorisation of AstraZeneca Vaccine
The European Movement International position
As we argue in our policy position on “A European Response to COVID-19”, it is paramount that the EU promotes a regular dialogue between member states and actively bolsters policies that benefit the health and well-being of all citizens. Together with vaccines, care and support must be accessible to all citizens during this health crisis, especially the most vulnerable.
Furthermore, the EU can take a leading role in the global fight against the pandemic through increased investment in research, medical equipment, treatments and vaccines. Boosting investments in the health care sector and health workers can make our health care systems more resilient while allowing us to better prepare for future health crisis. The EU must therefore work closely with member states to bring national health systems to a comparable level, while ensuring that best practices, intelligence, technologies and stocks of health equipment are shared.