Jerusalem (dpa) – Israel and the two EU countries Austria and Denmark want to arm themselves with a vaccine alliance against possible future production and supply problems.
The leaders of the three states, Benjamin Netanyahu, Sebastian Kurz and Mette Frederiksen, reached closer cooperation in Jerusalem on Thursday. Among other things, there will be closer cooperation in research and production. Kurz and Frederiksen also heard about the vaccination campaign there and the Green Pass in Israel. The Austro-Danish initiative has met with criticism in France.
The corona vaccination campaign in Israel is significantly faster than that in the EU. This is not least due to the digitized health system, but also due to sufficient vaccine doses. The Biontech / Pfizer preparation is mainly used in the country. An agreement between the Jerusalem government and Pfizer provides for the sending of vaccination data in exchange for the supply of sufficient vaccine.
Netanyahu said protection will likely continue to be needed in the future. The three countries therefore wanted to establish a fund for vaccine research and development and start joint production. According to Kurz, experts estimate that Austria alone will need about 30 million doses in the coming years – with a population of about nine million people. That is why cooperation is needed in the EU, but also worldwide. According to the Austrian Chancellor, the three countries decided to invest together in production facilities in Europe and Israel.
Kurz had already announced before the visit to Israel that he would no longer rely solely on the European Union to obtain vaccines. In other countries, the responsible EU commission was also criticized for the fact that the quantities were insufficient.
However, France stressed the importance of European solidarity. “We have taken note of this approach from Denmark and Austria. However, we still firmly believe that the most effective solution to meet vaccination needs should remain based on the European framework, ”said the Foreign Office in Paris. Solidarity between Member States is more important than ever. “That is why it is now a priority to pool our resources to increase production capacity in Europe, whatever we do.”
To see the Green Pass application, Kurz and Frederiksen visited a gym in the town of Modiin along with Netanyahu. Presented through the app or as a print, the pass allows people who have been vaccinated and recovered from Covid back to gyms and swimming pools. Until now, this has not been possible for unvaccinated individuals.
Netanyahu said the passport did not have to wait for everyone to be vaccinated. Through him, in principle, one could open up any area of the economy and public life.
Kurz is also a staunch supporter of such a passport in the EU. On March 17, the European Commission wants to present the bill for a digital green passport, in which vaccinations, diseases and negative tests can be noted. Under the concept, each state would ultimately decide for itself what benefits would be attached to it – if there were any. Some states, including Germany, have concerns about possible privileges for vaccinated people. They object that only a few have access to vaccinations. In addition, it is not clear whether the virus can be transmitted despite vaccination. Critics also fear a disguised vaccination obligation.
Israel, Austria and Denmark had held regular consultations with Australia, Norway, Greece and the Czech Republic during the pandemic. The heads of government of the federal states were connected several times by video conference. In Israel there are elections on March 23. Netanyahu is running for prime minister again.