Monday, March 8, 2021
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Hungary’s Orban says he’s nonetheless in vaccine talks with China, Russia, & Israel, as EU’s von der Leyen warns about unilateral offers

The Hungarian prime minister has doubled down on pursing talks with producers of Covid-19 vaccines, in defiance of a Brussels-managed procurement scheme. Viktor Orban is sad with the tempo of vaccination the EU can assist.

“If we solely depend on the Western vaccines, the restrictions should be maintained for a number of extra months,” he mentioned in an interview on Friday, referring to his authorities’s determination to delay lockdown measures till subsequent month. “If we will discover a protected and confirmed vaccine elsewhere, we will velocity up the method.”

Talking to Budapest-based Kossuth Radio, the prime minister reiterated that Hungary was negotiating with vaccine producers in China, Russia, and Israel over attainable purchases. In the meantime, the EU authorities is insisting that each one vaccine procurements ought to undergo Brussels and be topic to the regulatory selections of the union’s medicine watchdog.

Orban identified that Britain, not an EU member, has benefited from diversifying its vaccine provides. “The British, as an alternative of letting Brussels do it, negotiated themselves and are in a a lot better state now,” Orban mentioned.

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Hungary could also be among the many EU members most vocally expressing dissatisfaction with the procurement scheme, however it’s not the one one going behind Brussels’ again. Germany introduced on Monday that it had made a take care of Mainz-based BioNtech to provide 30 million extra doses of the vaccine which the corporate developed with Pfizer.

European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen gave a warning to side-dealing states on Friday, as she introduced extra purchases of the Pfizer/BioNtech drug made by Brussels.

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“The one framework we’re negotiating in is as 27,” she mentioned, referring to the variety of EU members. “We do that collectively, and no member state on this authorized binding foundation is allowed to barter in parallel or to have a contract in parallel.”

Orban is well-known for his euroscepticism and advocacy for retaining extra powers within the palms of particular person governments. Within the interview, he mentioned that the scenario with vaccines “leads again to the basic challenge that solely these rights must be transferred to Brussels that we’re sure shall be higher managed there.”

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