With regard to vaccination, the European Commission is calling on governments to better explain the benefits of vaccines. The Union is set to distribute hundreds of millions of benefits to the states next year. Von der Leyen said on Wednesday that the vaccine for EU countries should be available “in bulk” in April.
In some countries, such as France, Italy or Poland, but also due to the growing influence of disinformation sites, a large part of the public rejects vaccination, which, according to EU officials, could complicate effective vaccination of the European population.
The Commission has called for a stronger fight against coronavirus
European Union countries should also move towards mutual recognition of covid tests and start using antigen rapid tests to ensure the passage of internal borders during the second wave of the pandemic. The Commission recommended this in another series of proposals to improve EU coordination in the fight against the spread of the virus.
According to the Commission, countries should make more use of faster tests, the reliability of which is slightly lower than that of the classic ones, but the results are available pending. The Commission has therefore set aside 100 million euros (2.7 billion crowns) from emergency funds to purchase these tests for member countries. According to non-binding recommendations, countries should also ensure the interconnectivity of their tracing applications.
“The decisive steps we are taking now will help save lives and protect people’s livelihoods. No Member State will deal with this pandemic safely until everyone succeeds, “said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Brussels has also launched another round of joint purchases of medicines and medical equipment, which it wants to distribute to troubled states. Several dozen lung ventilators have already traveled to the Czech Republic, which, together with Belgium, has the highest increases in infected people per capita.
“At the heart of the common fight against the epidemic is EU support to Member States, as well as mutual assistance between countries. I am glad that the European reserve can serve the citizens of the Czech Republic, who now need help, “said the Czech Vice-President of the Commission, Věra Jourová.
The Commission also called on states to ensure the smooth transit of people and goods across borders, not only by road, but also by air, rail or shipping. According to Brussels, countries should also harmonize their quarantine rules and allow exemptions from travel restrictions not only for people with work but also for family reasons.
Governments should better explain why action is needed
According to von der Leyen, the situation in the member states is very serious and, in contrast to the first wave of the spring, all states, including those in Central Europe, are significantly affected by the disease. Therefore, governments should not back down from the restrictions adopted yet and should better explain to citizens why they are needed.
“I understand that people are tired of the measures. ‘And I’m amazed at what they’ve been able to do. Now is not the time to relax, “said the head of the EU executive.
The EU executive has been calling for greater coordination of action against the pandemic since the spring, but Member States have so far agreed to adhere to only some of the proposals. The protection of the health of the population is fully within the competence of the countries, which are often reluctant to leave their competences to Brussels. The new proposals should be discussed by presidents and prime ministers during a video conference on the current pandemic situation on Thursday.