February 25th, local time, the leaders of the 27 countries of the European Union held a special video summit on the epidemic crisis, focusing on accelerating vaccine approval, increasing production and delivery efficiency.
German Chancellor Merkel held a press conference after the summit, saying that due to the impact of the mutant novel coronavirus, vaccination is likely to last for several years.
She also revealed that 27 EU member states believe that the EU should launch digital coronavirus vaccine passports.
Merkel said at a press conference that night that the mutant coronavirus in the United Kingdom is raging in the European Union, and the situation in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and other countries is particularly serious.
Therefore, the EU hopes to improve the production and delivery capacity of COVID-19 vaccine.
Merkel pointed out that due to the continuous spread of mutant coronavirus, “continual vaccination may be needed for the next few years”. According to her, the European Parliament will next increase its support for mutant coronavirus research.
And the European Commission will also provide 225 million euros for related research.
Of this, 75 million euros will be used for sequencing, aiming to sequence at least 5% of positive tests across Europe to better study mutant COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Merkel defended the EU’s dissatisfaction caused by the recent border controls in Denmark, Hungary, Belgium and Germany, stressing that the current control measures will maximize cargo and commuting, but need to be intensified virus testing.
She also denied that the border control with France would be strengthened.
In addition, Greece, Portugal, Malta and Cyprus have been putting pressure on the European Union to resume tourism through a unified vaccination certificate, that is, the introduction of digital coronavirus vaccine passports.
In response, Merkel pointed out on the 25th that given that the vaccination rate of the people is still low, the launch of digital coronavirus vaccine passports will not affect tourism for the time being. However, she believes that it is necessary to start preparing in advance now.
According to Merkel, it may take about three months to carry out relevant technical preparations. However, she said that digital coronavirus vaccine passports also need to be approved by the European Parliament and member states to establish entrances and passages from countries to the EU level.
Moreover, Merkel believes that digital coronavirus vaccine passports alone cannot determine who can travel, but also need to rely on other means, including virus testing.