Austria’s Kurz Says There Is A ‘Bazaar’ and Secret Vaccine Deals in EU

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz accused European Union bureaucrats of running an opaque “bazaar” for vaccine doses, a development he said threatens the bloc’s ability to equitably combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Secret deals between nations and pharmaceutical companies have run contrary to the policy of inoculating the bloc’s population equally across countries, and that divergence will get worse heading into summer, Kurz said Friday at a press conference in Vienna. He accused a “steering board” of EU health officials of brokering backroom agreements.

“Those delivery plans are in blatant contradiction to the political goal of the EU that all member states get vaccines equally, pro rata of their population,” Kurz said. “Some member states got way too little, some significantly more.”

Kurz cites as most extreme cases Malta, which based on delivery plans he has seen would by the end of June have received three times more vaccines per capita than Bulgaria. The Netherlands would get more than neighboring Germany, and twice as much as Croatia.

Kurz said that while he didn’t have indication that there was formal wrongdoing, the outcome was clearly not what was intended by EU leaders. As a first step, he called for an investigation into which body had done the deals and on what authority. Because the deals were confidential, he wasn’t able to determine that, he said.

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