Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said that the European Union cannot provide the Czech Republic with vaccines against COVID-19, which "indirectly forces" the country's authorities to start negotiations with Russia on the purchase of the drug "Sputnik V" before its registration in the EU.
Babish's words are quoted by Seznam Zpravy.
"I am not surprised that Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz says that he will buy a million doses of Sputnik V, and the Slovaks have already bought 2 million doses of the vaccine. On the contrary, we said that we want mainly vaccines that are already approved by the EU regulator.
But now we are in a situation where, on the one hand, it is about solidarity, but when it comes to starting to care, it does not work," Babish said.
When asked directly whether the current situation could bring the government closer to real negotiations on ordering a Russian vaccine without the approval of the EU regulator EMA, the Prime Minister said: "Indirectly, we are forced to do this."
Recall that the Austrian Chancellor recently complained to representatives of other countries, in particular to Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, about the uneven distribution of vaccines among the 27 member countries. A week ago, the EU summit instructed EU ambassadors to agree on the distribution of an additional 10 million doses of Pfizer vaccines so that gaps in individual countries can be filled.
At first, the Portuguese presidency of the EU proposed to reserve three million of these doses for the six countries most in need, namely Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. The remaining seven million were to be distributed, as usual, in proportion to the population, among all 27 EU members.
However, Prague, Vienna, and Ljubljana did not like this, and therefore they refused to join the planned mechanism of assistance to the neediest countries. Thus, the Czech Republic was not included in the group of countries that will receive additional doses.
Kurz spoke out against the EU's approach, according to which there was an incomprehensible lack of solidarity with the Czech Republic, which faces an unprecedented number of infected and dead people every day.
Babis also called incomprehensible the announced compromise, according to which the final solution was created under the influence of large states and is not solitary or balanced.
As a result of the negotiations, some observers qualified as a failure of Babis, for example, according to the publication Politico, the Czech Republic lost about 140,000 doses. The Czech opposition called Babis ' actions a failure and a defeat.