Ten million vaccine doses from Biontech / Pfizer can be delivered to the EU in the second rather than the third quarter – a stroke of luck for the EU. Actually. Then the dispute about the distribution began: Usually, the EU countries are allocated the quantities according to their population. Under the Portuguese Presidency, however, five Member States that have too few vaccines should receive more support: Bulgaria, Estonia, Croatia, Latvia and Slovakia.
Together the countries should receive an additional 2.85 million doses, the others correspondingly fewer. 19 other EU countries took part in the solidarity campaign. Germany waived half a million vaccine doses.
“It is an important signal in the corona crisis that the vast majority in the EU shows solidarity with the countries particularly affected by the vaccine shortage,” an EU diplomat told SPIEGEL. However, led by Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, half a dozen countries had demanded that they get a larger share because they saw themselves at a disadvantage in the previous vaccine distribution.
In their assessment, Bulgaria, Estonia, Croatia, Latvia and Slovakia placed too much emphasis on AstraZeneca vaccine for their orders, which are now experiencing massive delivery problems. In Austria, however, no need for compensation was seen. In the negotiations, Slovenia and the Czech Republic also made demands for greater consideration.
The EU diplomat said: »It is regrettable that Austria, Slovenia and the Czech Republic are leaving and refusing to show this solidarity gesture. This is completely incomprehensible, since Austria and the Czech Republic in particular benefited from EU solidarity only recently and each received an additional 100,000 doses of vaccine. “
“Chancellor Kurz behaved in disagreement with solidarity”
Austria now missed out on the solidarity campaign and only gets its normal share based on population. Chancellor Kurz was nevertheless satisfied that his country received 199,000 cans from the additional Biontech / Pfizer shipment in the second quarter. That was “a solid result,” he said after a statement circulated in Brussels. However, at the beginning of the distribution dispute, Kurz had hoped for around 400,000 cans.
“Chancellor Kurz behaved in a lack of solidarity and left Bulgaria, Estonia, Croatia, Latvia and Slovakia in the lurch,” said an EU diplomat. “Serious European land damage has occurred for Austria.”