Debate between the Commission President and members of the European parliament.

WN – 02/2021

A plenary session in the European Parliament held on 10 February saw a debate with Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen about the EU vaccination strategy and the current challenges. While defending EU's action, she did acknowledge its mistakes.

Initially, it was right to order and distribute the vaccines in Europe on a solidarity basis. 17 million people in the EU had already been vaccinated by 10 February and 70 million of the adult population should have been vaccinated by the end of the summer.

"We were late in getting approval. We were also too optimistic about mass production and perhaps we were too sure that what we had ordered would actually be delivered on time", the Commission President said in her speech. One must now ask oneself why this was the case and what lessons can be learned from it.

What is planned?

A European network will be established to improve the exchanging of clinical data within the EU in order to further accelerate the approval of vaccines in Europe. A task force will also be set up under the responsibility of Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, to further improve production capacity on the industrial side.

President, von der Leyen stressed the need to continue to work and act as proactively as possible. A project to establish a "European Health Emergency Response Authority (HERA)" was launched against this background, which we report on here.

Finally, she announced the establishment of a contact group between the Parliament and the Commission to ensure greater transparency in the future and called for cooperation: "Our common enemy is the virus".


The major political groups in the EU Parliament continued to support the EU's general strategy of centralised procurement and solidarity-based distribution of vaccines. However, national reporting, in particular, is making national vaccination campaigns increasingly difficult in some Member States. The main criticisms are the lack of speed in the vaccination progress and the continuing lack of transparency on the part of the Commission, especially with regard to contracts with manufacturers.

Other important topics in the plenary session were the export ban to Great Britain and possible adjustments to the patent protection regulations so that more manufacturers can enter production.


You can read the full speech given by the President of the Commission here.