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EU turmoil as Austria likens jab rollout to 'vaccine bazaar' as bitter row erupts

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The Chancellor of Austria has lashed out at the European Union over mismanagement of the vaccination programme amid a fierce clash over how the bloc’s limited supply of doses is being shared out. EU bosses had initially pledged to provide vaccines equally across all member states proportionally by population size but Mr Kurz has now accused Brussels of failing to live up to its promises and instead overseeing a “vaccine bazaar.”

RT presenter Peter Oliver said: “The EU’s one for all and all for one vaccine procurement programme has come under fire again.

“This time it is Austria’s Chancellor Sebastien Kurz who is not happy, he says that the way that excess doses are being sorted out amounts to little more than trading bizarre.

“He is also really unhappy with the way disruption has been carried out.”

According to Mr Kurz, some EU member states will be able to vaccinate all of their adult population by May while others will be left to wait perhaps as long as the Autumn.

In a press conference on Friday, the Austrian leader seemed to blame backroom deals for the unfair disruption of excess Covid shots.

He said: “I have together with other heads of government shared out information and compared our own statistics on the distribution among EU member states.

“When you do that you notice that the amounts delivered to not correspond to the respective population numbers.”

Mr Kurz added: “They were set up in a bazaar where additional contracts between member states and pharmaceutical are said to have existed.”

Austria is one of a group of five member states who have written to the EU calling for a summit to discuss the distribution of vaccines across the bloc.

Taking to Twitter yesterday Mr Kurz said he and his four fellow heads of Government wanted to find a “European solution”.

Addressed to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel, it said: “In recent days … we have discovered that … deliveries of vaccine doses by pharma companies to individual EU member states are not being implemented on an equal basis following the pro-rata population key.

“We, therefore, call on you, Charles, to hold a discussion on this important matter among leaders as soon as possible.”

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Mr Michel was later said to have received the letter and an EU spokesperson confirmed a summit was already planned for March 25 and 26.

The official added: “Covid coordination will again be addressed by the 27 members during that meeting.”

However, there were no assurances that vaccine disruption would be included on the summit’s agenda.

Meanwhile, some Austrian opposition figures have accused Mr Kurz of using the row as a distraction from the country’s slow vaccine rollout.



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