Europeanleaders are looking for ways to step up their inoculation drives in talks on Thursday, with the 27 member states lagging behindcountries like Israel and Britain in the vaccination race against Covid-19.
"We need to urgently accelerate the authorisation, production and distribution of vaccines, as well as vaccination,"the heads of state and government are set to pledge, according to a draft statement.
The member states are to throw their weight behind the European Commission's recent efforts to work with industry and address bottlenecks, after weeks of tension with pharmaceutical firms over delivery days.
Two other topics are more contentious within the bloc: border closures and vaccination certificates as the basis for travel rights.
The EUexecutive chided Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden and Finland earlier this week for sealing off frontiers to neighbours within the EU free movement area in a bid to curb the spread of new coronavirus variants.
The commission is pushing member states to stick to a framework for travel within the bloc agreed just a few weeks ago, based on shared risk assessments.
Meanwhile, anothergroup of countries- including tourism-minded Greece - are rallying to open up internal borders for holidaymakers this summer. Cyprus has already inked a deal allowing vaccinated Israelis in.
Plans to use vaccination certificates as the basis for such rights are contentious with some member states, including France and Germany, an EU official said Wednesday.
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