Tuesday (March 2nd): EU bloc(kade)?

Mette Frederiksen

Name? Mette Frederiksen

Westphalian identity? Danish

Age? 43

Why is she in the news? The prime minister of Denmark, alongside her Austrian counterpart, broke ranks with Brussels to form an alliance with Israel in producing vaccines. Frederiksen told reporters that the EU’s vaccine programme cannot “stand-alone because we need to increase capacity. That is why we are now fortunate enough to start a partnership with Israel.”

Why do we care? A growing number of EU countries have made similar moves to receive vaccines through outlets outside the union; leading many to place side orders of doses from Russia and China that have not yet been approved by the European Medicine Agency (EMA). Thus, Prime Minister Frederiksen is not the first, but rather the latest leader to look for help outside the EU. 

Why should you care? The European Commission’s recent proposal of a ‘Digital Green Pass’ would allow those vaccinated to travel more freely. Assuming that, like us, you want to hold that digital green pass, you should care 6/10 (unless you’re not European and already struggling to travel within Schengen, then, unfortunately, this doesn’t help you much).

Who else cares? Ursula von der Leyen. As we mentioned above, the European Commission is hard at work trying to coordinate a bloc-wide response to the pandemic both with regard to vaccinations and bringing back economic growth. But with just 5% of the bloc’s population having received at least one shot of any vaccine, von der Leyen is struggling to walk the talk of European strength and unity. 

Any further comments? On the other side of the coin, Prime Minister Netanyahu stands to look stronger domestically and internationally with this new partnership as it once again highlights the Israeli’s world-dominating vaccination campaign. With more than half the Israeli population having received the first dose of a vaccine, it’s not surprising that Frederiksen and Kurz would break from Brussels in favour of Tel Aviv.

Joshua Dario Hasenstab

General Coordinator