At the meeting, attendees will talk about the wider introduction of the vaccines reserved by the European Commission, and the implementation of measures designed to curb the spread of the virus.
Bertalan Havasi, the Prime Minister’s press chief told the Hungarian news agency MTI that ever more EU Member States are complaining about disruptions in the supply of vaccines.
At the summit, Mr Orbán will argue that the vaccination of the European people must be accelerated by making available safe, effective and duly licensed vaccines. Hungary is, however, not waiting for Brussels to take action; negotiations are already ongoing with several vaccine manufacturers. In consequence, the start of the use of the British AstraZeneca vaccine and the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine in Hungary – as the first country in the EU – is imminent, Mr Havasi said, adding that negotiations and the investigations of the authorities regarding the procurement of Chinese vaccines are also promising. The restrictions imposed due to the pandemic can only be lifted within the foreseeable future with the mass administration of safe and effective vaccines, the press chief said after the start of the online EU summit.
According to some sources, there will be a protracted debate about the fact that some Member States are suggesting the introduction at EU level of stringent restrictions or even a ban on non-essential travel between countries. However, several Member States and the European Commission will argue for maintaining free movement for citizens.
In the invitation sent to the leaders of EU Member States on Monday, President of the European Council Charles Michel mentioned the continuation of vaccination campaigns among the most pressing issues. He highlighted that the acceleration of vaccinations must be a top priority in the whole of the EU. According to his information, the leaders of Member States will also discuss the possibility of the joint introduction of vaccination certificates, and the cases and circumstances in which the certificate also referred to as a vaccine passport could be used.
At the last meeting of the European Council held in December, leaders said the timely introduction and distribution of vaccines was imperative in order to make vaccines available in the whole of the European Union in a timely and coordinated fashion.
Vaccination against the coronavirus began on 27 December in the entire EU. While according to the EU’s original plans, vaccines would be delivered to all Member States simultaneously and under the same conditions, several Member States complained about disruptions in supplies.