Sunday, September 26

How Denmark and Austria Saw Different Reactions to Israel’s Vaccine Deal

All three countries will launch “A research and development fund” and begin “joint efforts for the common production of future vaccines,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the Jerusalem press conference alongside his Danish counterpart Mette Frederiksen and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

Denmark and Austria are members of the EU, and the Israeli partnership has been noted as an apparent break with the sole reliance on the European Union for vaccines.

READ ALSO: Austria and Denmark reprimanded by EU ally for Israel vaccination plan

Kurz, Austria’s Conservative Chancellor, had announced the alliance on Monday, saying the European Medicines Agency (EMA) was “too slow in approving vaccines,” leaving the bloc vulnerable to supply bottlenecks at companies. pharmaceuticals.

Frederiksen, who heads Denmark’s Social Democratic minority government, has been less blunt in citing the shortcomings of the EU as a reason for the deal, but He said that Denmark must “make sure it has enough vaccines in one year, and in two, three, five and ten years.”

Despite criticizing the bloc’s vaccination approval process, Kurz tried to quell concerns about the trip to Israel, telling Austrian media on Friday that the project “was not directed against the EU.”

Kurz praised the Israeli leader, saying that Austria was simply trying to harness Israel’s experience to “defeat the virus.”

“The world admires you for your vaccination successes. You were the first country to decide to defeat the virus, ”he told Netanyahu.

“Together now we must prepare for how things will continue after the summer, after the current vaccination program.”

Kurz said that other EU countries can join the framework, and that Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš will arrive in Israel soon.

Kurz’s efforts to speed up Austria’s slow vaccination process have been widely praised, though he faced criticism for his comments about the EU.

EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton welcomed the alliance.

“I have absolutely no fear that this is directed against anyone, it is just about improving global cooperation.” Breton told Politico.

European MEP Peter Liese, of the center-right European People’s Party of which Kurz is also a member, said that Kurz had the opportunity last fall to play a key role in approving the EU vaccination, a process that the Austrian chancellor now has criticized.

“I’m quite upset with my friend from the EPP, Kurz,” Liese said. World of German Magazines.

“It is not fair to criticize the EU now. Austria took a leading role in the (development of the EU Vaccines Steering Group) ”.

Sonja Hammerschmid of the center-left Social Democrats criticized Kurz’s “montage tour” as a public relations exercise, saying that much more money than the € 50 million planned was needed to be pledged for the show to make a difference.

“While in Austria the failures of professional crisis management are visible to all, the Chancellor flew abroad and went on a production tour,” he said.

“If you don’t add at least one zero (the number) to it, you can’t take the sum seriously even for a second in the area of ​​pharmaceutical production and clinical research.”

In Denmark, Frederiksen will have to defend himself against criticism from both the left and the right for his decision to join the association, as well as for the visit to Israel itself.

The apparently center-left Frederiksen government is supported by smaller left parties, but works regularly with the right to pass laws, mainly on immigration. Much of the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in its early stages, has also received broad parliamentary support.

The leader of the opposition, the liberal center-right party, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, called the agreement with Israel and Austria “vague.”

Ellemann-Jensen also criticized Frederiksen for prioritizing a trip to Israel over internal talks related to the gradual lifting of Denmark’s Covid-19 restrictions and said the meeting with Kurz and Netanyahu could have taken place digitally.

“We have something urgent at home. The prime minister has decided to turn his back on it. That’s something for which I have little understanding, ”he told the national broadcaster. DR.

The sentiment was shared by the center-left Social Liberal party, whose foreign policy spokesman Martin Lidegaard said he “could not understand” the need to travel to Israel in person.

“She could have accomplished the same with a virtual meeting without getting involved in the Israeli election campaign, without sending a negative signal to the rest of Europe and without delaying negotiations on the reopening of Denmark,” Lidegaard said.

Another ally, the left-wing Red Green Alliance, said it was “deeply in awe” by “what the prime minister is doing and doing in Israel.” This is not something that I have agreed with the parliamentary parties, ”the leader of the parliamentary group Peder Hvelplund told DR.

A common criticism of the Frederiksen government during the pandemic has been that it has at times failed to provide sufficient transparency about its decision-making process.

READ ALSO: Danish Prime Minister rejects criticism of first closure announcement

Hvelplund also called Israel a “controversial choice of partner.”

“This is a country that does not guarantee vaccination of parts of the population in the occupied areas that Israel has occupied in the West Bank and Gaza,” he argued.

“At the same time, an agreement (by Israel) was also made with Pfizer in which the public’s health data is systematically given to Pfizer as a condition of being able to vaccinate,” he said.

For Frederiksen, the images of his proactive attempt to boost Denmark’s vaccination program, by partnering with a country known for the speed of its own deployment, can overcome all those criticisms.

She defended the trip during the Jerusalem press conference, calling the deal “completely necessary” for Denmark.

As of Friday, March 5, 6.5 percent of adults in Austria had received one dose of vaccination, with 3.1 percent receiving both doses. In Denmark, those figures they are 8.5 and 3.3 percent respectively.

Austria and Denmark on Friday they both followed France and Germany in recommend the AstraZeneca vaccine for those over 65 years of age, reversing an earlier decision not to approve the senior jab.

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