The leaders of Israel, Denmark and Austria praised each other when they met in Jerusalem last week. “The world looks at Israel with admiration,” said Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of the rapid vaccination rate of Israelis.
“We have been very inspired by the opportunities that Israel is seizing to rapidly distribute vaccines,” said Danish Prime Minister Mitt Frederiksen. Then Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Israel is a role model for the rest of the world. We would like to share our experiences with some of our friends. Denmark and Austria are friends.”
Fund and factories
Lots of compliments for each other. But what exactly was agreed upon? The three countries would like to establish factories to speed up the distribution of vaccines. There will be funding that countries can use for research and development in the field of vaccines.
We should, according to Rmco van de Bass, which is affiliated with the Klingendel Institute and the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, see this as a plan. “It is a statement of intent and a plan for the future.” So it does not appear that real concrete steps have been taken yet.
So why do Denmark and Austria do this? “It’s a geopolitical expression,” says Van de Bass. “They are sending the message that what the European Union is doing is going very slowly. Other countries have done it as well. Just look at Hungary and the Czech Republic. They went to take a look at Sputnik vaccines from Russia.”
The Netherlands does not participate
And why shouldn’t the Netherlands participate in this as well? “The Netherlands follows the European line. We are a small country, but our economy is very large. Austria and Denmark are much smaller. We would like to follow what the other big economies, Germany and France do, so in this case they are participating. With the European Union. In addition, the Netherlands recently opposed aid.” Emergency for southern Europe. Now we want to do the same. “
According to Van de Bass, “In the end the soup is not eaten very hot”. “Moreover, the production of the vaccine costs a lot of money,” he explains. “It remains to be seen whether the parliamentarians of Austria and Denmark agree to such a huge investment at all.”
The movement of distrust
There is a lot of criticism from other European Union countries. Currently there are too few vaccines for the entire world, and this collaboration would lead to an unfair distribution of them. Austria and Denmark’s move is seen as a vote of no-confidence in the European Union. Although the official statement is that “Member States are free to look for partnerships outside the European Union”. Therefore, it does not contradict European rules.
France is the most important. The French believe that the countries of the European Union should only cooperate with each other in developing vaccines. A spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry said, “Only with Europe can we get sufficient vaccines effectively.”
Ellen discusses “T-Hoen” for “global cooperation.” She is the director of drug law and policy, a group of attorneys and researchers interested in obtaining medicines. “You cannot solve the problem of lack of vaccines for the whole world unless you solve it internationally.”
National Vaccine Action
“At first there was no plan in Europe. Then a number of countries, including the Netherlands, took the lead by striking deals with the pharmaceutical companies themselves,” says T Hoen. Then the European Commission said: “We shouldn’t do With that, we need a European strategy. “
“The Netherlands can then say that there will be a European strategy, because we had already concluded the deals. This was actually a national business for vaccines. Now it seems that Denmark and Austria are choosing for themselves.” You see European cooperation collapsing because of these kinds of measures. “
“So agreements were made to work jointly in Europe. For example, there is a distribution key that explains how vaccines are distributed between European countries. And whether what Denmark and Austria are doing now is politically smart, I don’t know,” says’ t Hoen.
“Nice for that area”
Back to What is the Solution, According to T. Hoen: A Global Strategy. “There are not enough vaccines to supply the entire world. So it is not surprising that Denmark, Austria and Israel have plans to focus on producing vaccines. But when you have capacity in an area, that is good for that region, but there is not.”
“Countries are fighting for themselves, which is understandable, but short-sighted,” he says. “Israel has already injected almost the entire population. Then they go and see, ‘What do we have left and what are we going to do with it? “But after that, should those vaccines go to Denmark or sub-Saharan Africa?”
With sad eyes
Ultimately, the crux of the story is that Israel and the UK are an example, have acted very decisively to obtain production and purchasing power as quickly as possible. And they are at the forefront of vaccinating their residents. They are now being expanded. Internationally, ‘t Hoen says.
Another painful point for Israel is what human rights organizations call “an expression of apartheid.” Palestine also suffers from a great shortage of vaccines. The country hardly gets the necessary doses without Israeli help.
Reporter Olaf Coons said earlier about the shortage of shipments to the Palestinians: “Israel controls these areas. In doing so, they also take responsibility. You can’t say: We are playing the police officer here, but we don’t run the ambulance service. ”