Public Policy Dynamics EU
Health and Politics in the European Union
- The Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU took over on 1 January. Its programme, entitled “Time to deliver: a fair, green and digital recovery’’ focuses on the social and economic recovery of the EU. On Tuesday 19 January 2021, this presidency will present its work programme in a meeting of the Ministers of Economy and Finance. The current macroeconomic imbalances in the Eurozone will also be discussed on 18 January in a Eurogroup meeting.
- On 11 January the European Commission announced the selection of 24 projects over 14 Member States and the UK that will expand the collection of COVID-19 convalescent plasma.
- Recent activities on COVID-19 have been focused on the COVID-19 vaccines, after the first conditional marketing authorisation for a COVID-19 vaccine was granted by the European Commission last year. The expansion of the current vaccine contract with BionTech-Pfizer was proposed by the European commission, and the outcomes of the exploratory talks with Valneva to secure a new potential vaccine have been published. Furthermore, members of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) have discussed COVID-19 vaccine contracts with Sandra Gallina, the EU's lead negotiator.
- The Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU took over on 1 January. Its programme, entitled “Time to deliver: a fair, green and digital recovery’’ sets out the following priorities: A Resilient, Green, Digital, Social, and Global Europe. Their main priority is the social and economic recovery of the EU.
- On Tuesday 19 January, the Portuguese presidency will present its work programme in a meeting of the Ministers of Economy and Finance. This meeting will also include a discussion on the implementation of the Recovery and Sustainability Mechanism, non-performing loans and the European Semester.
- On Monday 18 January the Eurogroup will hold a discussion on current macroeconomic imbalances in the Eurozone, including to what extent the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated existing imbalances. It will also discuss national recovery and resilience plans.
- The European Commission has announced the selection of 24 projects that will build new programmes, or expand existing ones, for the collection of COVID-19 convalescent plasma.
- This initiative is financed through the Emergency Support Instrument, for a total of €36 million.
- The projects will take place in 14 Member States (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Slovenia) and in the UK.
- Recent activities in the fight against COVID-19 have focused on COVID-19 vaccines, as the first conditional marketing authorisation for the COVID-19 vaccine has been granted by the European Commission.
- The European Commission on 8 January published a Q&A on COVID-19 vaccination in the EU, and another Q&A on the vaccination negotiations.
- On 8 January, President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen proposed the extension of the contract with BionTech-Pfizer and the supply of 300 million additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The first 75 million doses of the additional tranche are planned to become available by the second quarter of 2021.
- On 12 January, the European Commission published the outcomes of the exploratory talks with Valneva to secure a doses of its potential vaccine against COVID-19. All EU Member States will together be able to purchase 30 million doses, with the option of 30 million additional doses.
- Members of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety quizzed Sandra Gallina, the EU's lead negotiator on COVID-19 vaccine contracts, on 12 January after concern around the pace of the EU’s vaccine roll-out. Topics discussed include the latest developments regarding contracts, transparency, authorisations, availability and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines. Members of the European Parliament have emphasised the need for further clarity and transparency regarding vaccine contracts.