European Union (EU) leaders gathered on Thursday to discuss a coordinated path out of the COVID-19 pandemic, seeking agreement on how to ramp up supplies of vaccines after a feeble start to inoculation.
This comes after several countries have complained that vaccines are not being distributed evenly across the bloc.
Ahead of the summit, French President Emmanuel Macron spelt out the frustration over vaccine rollouts that are far behind those of Britain and the United States, acknowledging that European leaders had been too timid.
“We didn’t shoot for the stars. That should be a lesson for all of us. We were wrong to lack ambition, to lack the madness, I would say, to say: It’s possible, let’s do it,” he said.
Europe’s painfully slow rollout has led to a quarrel with Britain, which has imported at least 11 million doses made in the EU.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, defended the EU’s decision to procure vaccines jointly for all member states.
“Now that we see that even small differences in the distribution of vaccines cause big discussions, I would not like to imagine if some member states had vaccines and others did not,” she told German lawmakers ahead of the summit.
“That would shake the internal market to its core.”
More to follow…