BRUSSELS – European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič told Radio Free Europe on Tuesday that the European Union General Affairs Council affirmed the partnership with the Western Balkan countries in sharing coronavirus vaccines, FoNet reported.
Šefčovič is quoted as telling this year’s first General Affairs Council meeting that the EU managed to secure vaccines and should be able to share them with its Western Balkan partners.
He told the video conference that the European Commission is trying to secure coronavirus vaccines for the countries of the region through its member states individually and through the COVAX initiative.
Šefčovič said that the EU has just started the inoculation campaign and that the Commission is coordinating member states who want to donate vaccines from the joint EU procurement.
He confirmed that that the EU will make sure that an adequate share of vaccines is secured through COVAX for its partners.
Kyriakides: EU to provide grants for Western Balkans countries to buy COVID-19 vaccines
European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said the EU will provide 70 million euros in grants for the Western Balkans countries to provide coronavirus vaccines from the bloc, FoNet reported.
She said that the EU would support priority groups in the Western Balkans and the neighborhood, as well as health workers in low-income countries, especially in Africa, through the vaccine sharing mechanism.
“We will award a grant of 70 million euros to the Western Balkans, for the purchase of vaccines from member countries. In cooperation with the member states, we are also working on a mechanism for the allocation of vaccines outside the EU borders, before COVAX is fully operational,” Kyriakides told.
She said the EU vaccine-sharing scheme should prioritise health workers and most vulnerable people in the Western Balkans, North Africa and poorer Sub-Saharan African countries.
“Each of the moves we are planning has the same goal: fast, equal and universal access to safe vaccines. No country will be safe, nor will economic recovery be possible until the virus is defeated on all continents”, Kyriakides concluded.