It is for the hard line Mario Draghi. On his debut at the European Council as head of the Italian government, the former governor of the ECB spoke clearly: the European line held so far on vaccines is not going well. No open objection to the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, but an accusation, not exactly veiled, to the strategy followed so far by the leaders of the European Union.
Certainties are lacking. The Commission President showed the slides on vaccine deliveries in the second and third quarters of the year to European partners.
The EU objective is confirmed: immunize 70% of the adult population, 255 million people by the end of the summer. For Draghi, however, the data “are not reassuring, because they do not give certainty”. We need to go faster, we need pulse, and he added that an efficient vaccination campaign also helps reduce the spread of variants.
President Mario Draghi during the first working session of the videoconference of the members of the European Council on 25 and 26 February https://t.co/AyhSyZr10z pic.twitter.com/nhdpwWn2EG
– Palazzo_Chigi (@Palazzo_Chigi) February 25, 2021
There is no excuse for pharmaceutical companies that have not met their commitments to supply doses. For Draghi we need a hard line, among the hypotheses also the blocking of the export of productions made in Europe. “Companies that do not respect their commitments should not be excused,” said Mario Draghi, who also invited to look at other productions, at purchases of vaccines outside Europe.
Draghi hypothesized the possibility of giving priority to the first doses of the vaccine, to expand the vaccination coverage of the population, without however denying the need for a double dose. Draghi’s approach is all pragmatic: common tests in Europe, coordination for export authorization, data sharing.
Following the Draghi line everyone is aiming for a tough approach. The numbers tell of a great slowness. In February, 51.5 million doses of vaccines were distributed across the Union overall, and only 8% of Europeans received at least the first dose. The doubt of many is linked above all to AstraZeneca which has cut distribution in Europe: only 40 million doses by March, 60% less. These cuts have not occurred for the UK and Israel.
While giving his support to Covax, the global access program to anti-Covid vaccines, Draghi said that we must first be credible towards European citizens, who do not understand donations at a time when the Union is still too far behind with its immunizations.
For what concern vaccination passport there is a common will to promote it. It will take three months for the technical development of a European interoperable system. It will be used to return to travel and to develop tourism.