Speeches

26. 3. 2021 11:27

Speech by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš at a videoconference of members of the European Council

Speech by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš at a videoconference of members of the European Council, 25 March 2021.
Speech by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš at a videoconference of members of the European Council, 25 March 2021.
Speech by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš at a videoconference of members of the European Council on 25 March 2021.

To start with, the situation in the Czech Republic is slightly improving, but the epidemiological situation is still alarming and one of the worst in the EU. We must be very cautious now. The lockdowns only work to a certain degree. The only long-term solution is the EU vaccination. Increasing vaccine supply remains an absolute priority. Non-fulfillment of obligations by some suppliers, namely AstraZeneca is not acceptable.

I would like to thank Emmanuel and Angela for their solidarity in providing vaccines, as well as the Commission for their efforts and work on increasing vaccine self-sufficiency. I am very greatfull to Ursula for having negotiated several accelerations of the Pfizer Biontech doses from quarter four to quarter two. I hope we can continue and even more doses will be actually available in the EU by the end of June.

I am concerned as Sebastian (Andrej and Kristianis) about the imbalances in the actual deliveries of vaccines in different Member States.  I think the deliveries should be organised according to pro rataper citizen, regardless of how many doses Member States ordered.

In July there should be almost 500 million doses in the EU. It will be enough for 70% of adult population, but if we do nothing it can be more than 80% in some states and less than 40% in others. It creates serious risks for the EU and we should do something about it. The last acceleration of 10 million doses is a unique chance how to solve the problem without anybody having to slow down according to the original plan.

There has been technical work done on the Vaccines Steering Board but I think we should give a clear political steer for which purpose the 10 million accelerated doses should be used.

On more technical note – I do not think we should be dealing with each vaccine separately, we have got 10 million doses of Pfizer for quarter two on the table and we should use a large part of them to bring as close to our  vaccination target as possible.

Regarding the possibility of broader export restrictions on vaccines, I think they need to be seriously considered in case that a producer is not fulfilling their obligation towards the EU. We heard Ursula that 43 million doses have been exported from the EU since the end of January and actually only 88 milion doses out of 2, 3 billion have been sofar delivered all EU Member States.

I hope that President Biden will be constructive and remove some of the export bans the US has in place in order to expand the vaccine capacity in Europe.

I also support the joint solution of so-called Digital Green Certificates. We need to obtain more data on the immunity and effectiveness of vaccines, even in the context of mutations, but it is a welcomed step forward.

We need to have such a system that is interoperable and ready for use. The question of how exactly we will use the certificates should be left for the Member States to decide.

As I stated before, we are ready to show solidarity with our neighbors and partners and contribute with vaccines. Unfortunately, sharing will not be possible untill we have enough vaccines in the EU for our citizens.

Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister

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