European Diary, 12.3.2021: In a specially convened press conference, Austria’s Chancellor Kurz claims to have uncovered a European scandal. According to Kurz, the distribution of vaccines was like a “bazaar,” and individual European countries had secured additional supplies of vaccine doses through secret side agreements. As a result, some European countries were favored and others disadvantaged: “The delivery was not based on a population key.” But apparently as with “the Orientals.” Or what do you think Kurz is trying to say with his choice of words?

The vaccination progress in Malta and Denmark is much faster than in countries like Bulgaria, Latvia or Croatia. This could not only be due to the speed of vaccination. Kurz senses secret contracts for additional supplies and demands “transparency.”
But the accusations made with grandiose gestures have already collapsed within a few hours, like a house of cards. And a lot of porcelain has been smashed in the process.

Perhaps he could have asked the deputy chairman of the responsible “Steering Board” of the EU beforehand how the different delivery speeds to the various EU states come about, namely the Austrian representative on the “Steering Board”: Clemens-Martin Auer?
The answers to the Chancellor’s murmuring questions are staggeringly simple. The EU signed framework agreements with most of the pharmaceutical companies working on vaccines at an early stage, long before it was clear which ones could be approved first. They have had to back different horses in the process, and some of their order volumes have made vaccine research possible in the first place. Since some EU member states were basically on the brakes when it came to spending (we remember the “frugal four”, first and foremost Austria), there was probably also an attempt to push down prices. This is now taking its revenge.
And then the EU gave the member states the opportunity – within the limits of their respective delivery volumes – to opt more for one vaccine or another, for example for the more expensive Biontech-Pfizer or the cheaper AstraZeneca vaccines. Malta, for example, booked as much as possible Biontech-Pfizer and Bulgaria as much as possible AstraZeneca, whose deliveries have just been slowed by massive production and export problems.

But what do such banal realities interest a chancellor who is just dealing with the fact that “message control” is slipping away from him. Hans Rauscher speaks in the Standard of the “biggest smoke grenade since the beginning of the Corona crisis.” That could turn out to be an understatement. For if the incitement of vaccination nationalism spreads, we would be dealing with an even more dangerous pandemic.

So far, however, the Austrian chancellor stands alone with his tall tales. Neither the EU Commission, nor the Austrian Ministry of Health, neither Germany nor allegedly disadvantaged Croatia have hesitated even for a day to distance themselves from this rampage. And have factually and diplomatically clarified the little sensational facts. After all, this is a day on which secret side agreements, the exploitation of illegal workers or the obscure supply chains of “Hygiene Austria” do not make the headlines. That is a “good day” for the chancellor.

Review 12.3.2020: Contrary to the decisions of the video conference of 10.3.2020, Austria surprised its Italian neighbors yesterday with border controls at the Brenner Pass. Apparently without having previously agreed with the Italian government.

The WHO has now declared the rampant Covid-19 disease a pandemic.
U.S. President Donald Trump has it all figured out. He announced a ban on Europeans entering the country: “Because we responded very early, we’re seeing significantly fewer cases of the virus in America than in Europe.”

Boris Johnson and the British government’s chief scientific adviser today publicly announced their strategy for fighting Corona: “It is now impossible to prevent almost everyone from contracting the disease. (…) That is not at all what is wanted. After all, the population is supposed to build up immunity to the virus.” They expect the epidemic to peak in May and June and only then want to take drastic measures. To delay the wave of infection, first of all, starting immediately, any person who gets a cough and/or fever should stay at home for seven days, not go to the doctor and not call the emergency services, which are already overloaded.

Translated with (free version)