Who’s to blame for the EU’s slow coronavirus vaccine rollout?

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Published on February 25, 2021 by

The EU has been slow off the mark in its vaccination drive, and new infection numbers are still stubbornly high in many countries. Germany currently has an incidence rate of 61 per 100,000. Sweden and the Czech Republic have more than 200. DW Brussels correspondent Max Zander takes a look at the challenges the EU faces going forward, and DW speaks with Manfred Weber, Member of the European Parliament.
Vaccines, variants and freedom of movement.
About a year into the pandemic, the EU is struggling to keep up with recent developments as Council president Charles Michel made clear in his invitation letter to the two day leaders conference.
The bloc has failed to coordinate its anti-coronavirus measures, with traffic piling up at some of its internal borders like that between Germany and the Czech Republic.
Brussels has reacted with a slap on the wrist to member states acting on their own.
While targeted restrictive measures on non-essential travel are necessary in the eyes of the EU Commission, blanket bans like those applied in Belgium do not serve a purpose.
With spring on its way, another fight among European leaders is waiting to break out. Greece, in an attempt to save its holiday season, had suggested an EU-wide vaccination certificate. Other member states like Denmark and Sweden have already begun developing their own passports, with the bloc as a whole risking fragmentation on the matter.
But the biggest challenge of all is the rather slow rollout of the EU wide vaccination program. Production shortfalls and other stumbling blocks have left the EU trailing behind countries, like the United Kingdom, and lead to growing impatience among its leaders.
From ramping up vaccine production to closer coordination – a lot is on the table.

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