Paris | France criticized Denmark’s and Austria’s plans for an alliance with Israel on COVID vaccines, believing that the “European framework” remains the most appropriate to guarantee “solidarity” within the EU.
“Our conviction remains very clear that the most effective solution to meet vaccination needs must continue to be based on the European framework”, noted Wednesday evening the spokesperson for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“It is in fact he who guarantees solidarity between Member States more essential than ever and our collective effectiveness,” she added.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his Danish counterpart Mette Frederiksen are due to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel on Thursday to launch a partnership for second-generation vaccines, covering both production and research.
Mr Kurz says the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is “too slow” to approve vaccines and that it is no longer possible to “depend only on the EU” for second-generation vaccines intended for faced with the multiple mutations of the virus.
For France, “the priority issue is now to pool our resources to increase production capacities in Europe”.
The European marketing authorization process will also be accelerated with the establishment of an “emergency procedure” for vaccines suitable for variants, continued the Quai d’Orsay.
“The European Union is redoubling its efforts to develop second-generation vaccines, with the establishment of a European network for vaccine trials,” he further noted.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Wednesday conceded “sometimes heavy gaps” in the EU’s vaccine policy but deplored “temptations to secede”.
Three other EU countries, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, have opted for Russian and Chinese vaccines without any European coordination.