PRESS RELEASE 002
State Secretary for EU advocates speeding up vaccination and maintaining European unity over the pandemic
18/01/2021

The State Secretary for the European Union, Juan González-Barba, has taken part today by video-conference in the General Affairs Council of the EU, which included an exchange of perspectives on the coordination measures in the fight against the pandemic, as well as the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency and the Conference on the Future of Europe. The meeting served to prepare the upcoming informal video-conference of the members of the European Council.

The foreign affairs ministers addressed the measures adopted by Member States, the emergence of new challenges such as the new variants of the virus, the situation of the vaccination campaigns and the production and distribution of vaccines, and cooperation between the EU and its Member States and third countries in this field.

Juan González-Barba reiterated Spain’s commitment to the EU’s centralised purchasing of vaccines mechanism. Vaccination is the absolute priority at this time and must be rolled out as quickly as possible. He also stated that Spain fully supports the EU’s efforts to improve the coordination of the donation of vaccines to third countries, guaranteeing universal and fair access to vaccines, particularly for the most vulnerable groups. The channelling of the advance rollout of these surpluses must be achieved under the leadership of the WHO, and the COVAX Initiative, thus strengthening the multilateral efforts associated with the European Union.

The ministers also addressed questions of intra-European and international mobility during the pandemic. Juan González-Barba called to harness the opportunity offered by the vaccination process to facilitate cross-border mobility that the mutual recognition of national vaccination certificates could contribute to. Based on these and on other initiatives to guarantee intra-Schengen mobility, Spain has presented the OECD with an initiative to facilitate mobility between the Member States of this organisation.

The meeting of the General Affairs Council held today was also the first meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers held under the Portuguese Rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU. Portugal presented its priorities for this half-year, fundamentally focused on the economic recovery through the ecological transition and digital transformation, the development of the EU’s Social Pillar as an essential element in ensuring that the recovery is fair and inclusive, and the strengthening of the  strategic autonomy of the EU open to the world. The Government of Spain fully supports the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency.

Lastly, the ministers discussed the state of preparations for the Conference on the Future of Europe.

 

 

-NON OFFICIAL TRANSLATION-


 

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