In Focus

Germany ‘violates’ EU joint vaccine scheme by buying 30 million extra doses

Berlin had promoted pact that no members of the bloc would strike separate deals to secure jabs

The German government has been accused of breaching EU rules by striking a deal to secure an extra 30 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Health Minister Jens Spahn has admitted that Germany purchased the extra doses of the Covid-19 vaccination in a separate agreement after agreeing to buy 60 million doses of the vaccine under an EU-wide deal.

Berlin struck the separate deal in September, when it was “trumpeting the virtues” of a common EU purchasing strategy during its tenure as rotating president of the European Union, The Telegraph reports.

That strategy, conceived as an act of solidarity towards smaller members of the bloc, states that the 27 EU states agree “not to launch their own procedures for advance purchase of that vaccine with the same manufacturers”.

The European Commission “has largely refused to acknowledge” Germany’s “apparent violation of the strategy”, says Politico.

However, President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters on Friday that member states had agreed that “there will be no parallel negotiations or parallel contracts”.

News of Germany’s jabs deal “further muddies a week of confusion and finger-pointing between Berlin and Brussels as German politicians and media call the EU’s deals a ‘vaccination disaster’, claiming it hasn’t secured enough doses”, the news site reports.

 Berlin reportedly decided to go it alone after failing to convince other EU states of the need to buy a further 100 million doses of the Pfizer jab.

The EU subsequently signed a deal to purchase 200 million doses of the vaccine. And that order was extended to a total of 600 million doses last week.

But despite the EU’s latest vaccine buy-up, Angela Merkel has been looking further afield to secure more jabs.

The German chancellor told Vladimir Putin last week that she was “open to the idea” of producing Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine in the EU, amid rising criticism of her handling of her country’s mass immunisation programme.  

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