Press Advisories

26. 3. 202112:24

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš met with EU leaders on vaccines and internal market

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš met on Thursday, 25 March 2021, through a video conference with European Union leaders on vaccines against COVID-19, the internal market, industrial policy, digital transformation and external relations of the EU.

The main topic of this year's already third video conference of the European Council was COVID-19. Following the previous meeting held on 25 and 26 February, the leaders evaluated the current epidemiological situation and cooperation in combating the pandemic. The key discussion concerned fair and fast distribution of vaccines and ensuring their sufficient number.

"We agreed that it was necessary to do something about the speed in which the vaccines were delivered to the Member States. Together with several other prime ministers I warned earlier that the speed of delivery was not equal and that, because of that, some States would not have enough vaccines in July to meet the common goal of vaccinating seventy-percent of the adult population. I consider it a great success that we have managed to push through a promise that the problem of unequal deliveries must be solved and the worst-doing States must be assisted," said Czech Prime Minister.

The European Council also discussed placing stricter rules on vaccine export. "We spoke of the need to make the measure stricter and better targeted.         The EU puts emphasis on openness but we must, at the same time, make sure that we get our fair share of the vaccines we ordered," said Prime Minister Babiš.

The leaders shortly talked about the so-called Digital Green Certificates that should bear a proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or has antibodies after recovering from COVID-19. "It is a good initiative. But we must get more data on immunity and efficacy of the vaccines, also with respect to variants, still it is an appreciated step forward," Andrej Babiš added.

Another topic discussed by the European Council was the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the development of EU-Turkey relations. At the end of the summit, the meeting of the European Council was joined, after eleven years, by the President of the USA. The leaders and Joe Biden discussed the joint fight against the pandemic that affects the whole world, and other topics.

"I am very glad that President Biden joined us, his speech was inspiring. He presented his vision of reinvigorating the transatlantic relations, trade and investment. He sees a great potential for our cooperation and puts emphasis also on climate change, innovation support and security," said Andrej Babiš.

The European Council meeting agenda included economic topics, internal market, industrial policy and digital transformation. Ensuring the full functionality of the internal market and its integrity belongs to long-term priorities of the Czech government.

As regards the digital agenda, the European Council focused mainly on the digital compass, including the 2030 Digital Targets and digital taxation, and on international cooperation.

In the margins of the meeting, a Euro Summit was held in an extended format (including the non-eurozone members), traditionally attended by European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde and President of the Eurogroup, Paschal Donohoe. Its main theme was strengthening the international role of the euro.