RIGA - The European Union (EU) must do everything in its power to ensure the availability of Covid-19 vaccines, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) said at an extraordinary European Council meeting of EU heads of state and government that ended on Friday after two days of videoconferencing.
The Prime Minister supports the initiative of the European Commission to increase the production capacity of Covid-19 vaccines in the EU, noting also the readiness of Latvian pharmaceutical companies to become involved in this project. At the same time, Karins believes that the EU must do everything possible to ensure the timely delivery of Covid-19 vaccines.
Discussing the situation regarding the Covid-19 pandemic in the EU, Karins called on the EU institutions to continue negotiations with manufacturers so that vaccines would be delivered on time, and in accordance with the concluded agreements.
EU leaders also discussed the possibility of introducing a so-called vaccine certificates, agreeing on the need for a common, coordinated approach at the EU level as the number of people receiving the vaccine increases - the European Commission estimates that collective immunity could be achieved within the bloc by late summer.
The extraordinary European Council also discussed the EU's common security and defense cooperation. Karins emphasized the need to strengthen the EU's resilience and crisis response capacity as global challenges grow. EU Member States must also continue to increase investment in defense. At the same time, challenges can only be solved in cooperation with like-minded partners. Karins said that NATO remained the cornerstone of European security and that close cooperation between the two organizations was crucial, and a strong transatlantic link was a precondition for stability and security in Europe.
Also discussed during the meeting was the EU's relations with its southern neighborhood.