Coronavirus

EU Commission rejects vaccine criticism – and attacks Germany

The current EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen was previously Defense Minister in Germany

picture alliance / ASSOCIATED PRESS | Johanna Geron

The EU Commission around the former German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) has been under massive pressure in Germany for days. The accusation: Brussels had ordered far too little corona vaccine, especially from the company Biontech, so that, of all places, in the country where the vaccine was developed, they now do not have enough doses available. So it would have been better if Germany had taken care of it itself.

Von der Leyen is now reacting – and for her part is raising serious allegations against Germany: The problem is therefore not Brussels, but the member states. Von der Leyen’s representative in Germany, Jörg Wojahn, warns in an internal letter to German partner authorities and organizations (available): “Germany’s strength is Europe’s internal market. If only Germans have vaccination protection, it won’t help the German economy out of the valley. Travel remains difficult and we are de facto building new borders and fronts in Europe. National egoism has so far not helped anywhere in the world. ”The little hidden message: Anyone who, like in Germany, accuses the EU of failure and would have preferred to obtain national vaccine, is selfish.

On four pages, Wojahn repeatedly praises the EU’s vaccine management – and rejects responsibility for the vaccination problems: “The EU has only pre-financed production capacities (with the frequently quoted around 2 billion euros) and thus the production of larger volumes Vaccines only made possible – at a point in time in mid / autumn 2020 when it is not possible to foresee objectively which vaccine project would lead to success and which one first, ”Wojahn justifies the EU approach. But it is also a fact that other countries such as the USA, Great Britain or Japan had already ordered several million vaccine doses from Biontech at the time.

Wojahn continues: “The member states decide on the purchase themselves; they are also the ones who pay for the vaccines. That is why the argument that the EU Commission was too thrifty or stingy does not work. The EU does not pay for the vaccines – it is the member states that purchase and pay for the agreed quantities. “

The fact that the EU no longer ordered from Biontech is because they wanted to spread the risks of success. In any case, Wojahn continues, the number of orders is not the problem either: “The bottleneck is currently (…) the global bottleneck in production capacities. This also applies to Biontech ”. The EU has funded the development of production capacities at Biontech alone with 100 million euros, according to Wojahn’s statement.

At the same time, the EU official announced that negotiations are already underway with the Mainz company about additional vaccines and an expansion of production capacities. He continued: “If all preparations are approved, Europe will have more than two billion vaccine doses available for all 450 million Europeans and its neighborhood.”

So far, Germany had received 1.3 million vaccine doses by the end of last year. However, around a quarter of the amount was only inoculated. In Germany, the federal government is responsible for purchasing vaccines, and the federal states are responsible for vaccinations.

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