On behalf of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR) in the European Parliament, ECR Co-Chairmen Ryszard Legutko and Raffaele Fitto call for the European Parliament to hold the Commission accountable for the management of its vaccination strategy. Specifically, the ECR Group demands more transparency around the contracts negotiated, the export authorisation scheme, and the public communication strategy employed. The lack of clarity with which the European Commission has made such crucial decisions, which affect all European citizens, must urgently be addressed.
First, the European Commission signed contracts with eight manufacturers for a total of approximately 2 billion doses, the details of which were not fully disclosed to the public. Then, faced with vaccine shortages, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the EU would trigger article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol in an attempt to block COVID-19 vaccine exports from the bloc to Northern Ireland. Although the European Commission subsequently changed its position, the announcement had already sparked significant criticism on both sides of the Irish border, putting the bloc’s relationship to the UK and Northern Ireland under considerable strain. Rather than offering a public explanation, President von der Leyen chose to hold closed-door meetings with some of the European Parliament’s political groups. The ECR Group deems this behaviour unacceptable and urges for the European Commission to offer a full account of the management of its vaccination strategy during the Parliament’s plenary session in Brussels next week.