The EU summit for the Europe-wide coordination of measures in the fight against the corona pandemic is over. At the video conference convened by Council President Charles Michel, the heads of state and government of the 27 member countries have been discussing accelerating vaccine procurement and protecting against virus mutations since 3 p.m.
In view of the fierce criticism of the sluggish start of the vaccination campaign – most recently even North African Morocco overtook the EU despite a start that was a month later – many observers saw the summit as the last chance to turn things around, the vaccination turbo in terms of procurement and ignite future production.
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) speaks about the hour before the press in Berlin, BILD transmits the statement on the summit LIVE.
Digital vaccination certificate should come
Already in the early evening BILD learned from the consultations that the approval for a digital and EU-wide accepted certificate for vaccinations, immunity and negative tests was growing. This is a prerequisite for boosting international tourism. After the extremely weak 2020 season, tourism countries such as Greece, Spain and Portugal are hoping for a trend reversal in 2021.
Merkel confirmed in her press statement that there was agreement in the European Council “that we need something like this”.
Border controls such as those reintroduced by Germany, Belgium and France because of the pandemic were considered a sensitive issue. The criticism from Brussels had angered Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) in particular. In the run-up to the summit, the pressure had grown to finally lay down stricter regulations for flights from Brazil and South Africa to the EU, where the most dangerous virus mutations are raging. Unlike in Great Britain, travelers do not have to be in hotel quarantine for ten days.
When asked about France, Merkel said that new border controls were “not on the agenda” at the moment.
At the same time, Council President Charles Michel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will speak about the agreements at the summit in Brussels.
It was expected that they would also take a position on the ever increasing range of vaccines on the gray and black market. According to the EU anti-fraud agency Olaf, governments were offered 900 million doses of vaccine for a total price of around 12.7 billion euros.
The second day of the summit on Friday will be about security and defense, the partnership with NATO and the USA, as well as the relationship with neighboring countries in the south.