Call for solidarity and equal access to COVID-19 vaccines
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Janez Janša attended a working meeting in Vienna hosted by the Chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz, where the discussion focused on the distribution of vaccines among the EU Member States.
The working meeting was also attended by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, Bulgarian Prime Minister Bojko Borisov, Latvian Prime Minister Arturs Krišjanis Karinš (via video conference), and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković (via video conference).
The discussion focused on equal access to and the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, which was also the main topic of the prime ministers' letter to President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Council Charles Michel. In the letter, the leaders also called on the President of the European Council to hold a discussion on the equal distribution of vaccines for all Member States with the leaders of all EU Member States, as soon as possible.
Prime Minister Janša emphasised that "a corrective mechanism is necessary that would ensure that the allocation of vaccines proceeds as was first agreed upon by the European Council, i.e. that vaccine doses are allocated on a pro rata basis – in accordance with the population of each Member State. No technical agreement, no steering board, no technical procedure can change the decision adopted to benefit everyone in the European Union."
He continued that Slovenia's vaccination rate is above the European average, "but things could change quickly if the mechanism does not function as intended." "We know that we are not an island and that the people of no EU Member State will be able to lead a normal life, even if an individual state is better protected from COVID-19, as long as there are still neighbouring states that do not reach this level of protection as the virus knows no borders and a return to the way of life we were used to before the pandemic will not be possible," assessed the Prime Minister.
The next day they held a videoconference where they discussed the additional supply options for COVID-19 vaccines and mechanisms to ensure that 70% of adult Europeans in the EU Member States are vaccinated by the end of the summer.