Brussels (Brussels Morning) The EU Council adopted conclusions on crisis management, pandemic response and foreign relations on Thursday. Pointing out in a press release that the EU’s epidemiological situation is worsening, the Council stressed the importance of vaccination for all citizens in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. It proposed the joint procurement of COVID-19 therapeutics and a coordinated campaign against COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.
It stressed the importance of following empirical evidence and basing any restrictions on objective criteria, noting that measures introduced to curb the spread of coronavirus had not jeopardised the functioning of the EU market and free movement. Moreover, the Council noted that the European Commission is to adopt a delegated act on a coordinated approach to ensuring the validity of EU vaccine passes.
The body emphasised how the EU is committed to achieving global vaccination against COVID-19, citing how the bloc is the largest exporter and donor of the vaccines. It urged the EC to step up its support to EU member states and to improve coordination with the COVAX initiative, the World Health Organization and other partners.
Commenting on the migrant crisis, the EU Council condemned attempts by third countries to use migrants for political purposes, stressing the importance of developing tools to prevent the instrumentalisation of migration. It called for the preparation of measures against transport companies that engage in or facilitate human trafficking insofar as it abetted illegal entry into the EU.
Discussing Belarus explicitly, the Council pointed out that the EU should protect its external borders effectively and that new regulations should be adopted for this purpose. Commenting on rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia, the body urged de-escalation and expressed the EU’s full support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. It warned that military aggression against the country would result in severe response that would be coordinated with its partners.
The EU Council also stated that it is following the situation in Ethiopia closely and expressed full support for the mediation efforts of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the African Union High Representative. It called for an unconditional ceasefire, while asserting that all sides should engage in dialogue.