The pandemic has yet become a political issue. Governments are celebrating because their country is “vaccination champion”. Others are showing strength by organizing national vaccine quotas ignoring the EU. Is vaccination becoming a political instrument? Political scientist Florian Bieber explains why national strategies have a geopolitical dimension.
Clip (German only)
Florian Bieber: "Rapid vaccination of its own people is the goal for every country during the pandemic – all over the world. However, some countries have attracted global attention by rolling out their vaccination programmes at a particularly fast rate, such as Israel, or within Europe, Hungary and Serbia. This enables heads of government to gain prestige amongst their own population, and internationally too. Why is it populists in particular that are setting a swifter pace? To avoid vaccine nationalism – reckless competition between countries to secure vaccines, which are still in short supply – the EU has decided on a policy of joint procurement for member states. When it comes to authorisation and purchase, however, individual countries can be more flexible. Another important factor is the geopolitical dimension. Russia and China have sold vaccines to their own partners, but not sought broader authorisation in the EU. This tactic is sabotaging EU-wide cooperation. Meanwhile, Viktor Orban in Hungary and Aleksandar Vucic in Serbia are being congratulated for their lead positions in the European vaccination rankings. This reinforces their close relationships with Russia and China, while the EU is the scapegoat once again."
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