EU meeting amid fears over coronavirus vaccines and variants

Les chefs d'Etat et de gouvernement de l'Union européenne vont s'entretenir jeudi avec l'objectif de trouver des solutions face aux défis croissants de la pandémie de coronavirus, qu'il s'agisse des variants plus contagieux ou du déploiement des vaccins, avec l'ombre d'une éventuelle fermeture des frontières. /Photo d'archives/REUTERS/Yves Herman

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — European Union heads of state and government will hold talks on Thursday with the aim of finding solutions to the growing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, whether it is more variants contagious or the deployment of vaccines, with the shadow of a possible border closure.

However, no final decision is expected at the end of the European Council which will be held from 17:00 GMT, the ninth meeting of the EU organized by videoconference since the start of the health crisis.

The executive in Brussels called on the leaders of the “Twenty-Seven” to remain united and to speed up national screening and vaccination campaigns. The European Commission said on Tuesday it wanted 70% of adults in the community block to be vaccinated by the summer.

While the pace of vaccinations is currently quite slow, member countries have expressed concern after learning last week that Pfizer, the laboratory behind one of only two COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the EU, would temporarily reduce its production volume. Italy has said it is considering legal action.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also warned on Tuesday that Berlin, which extended containment measures in Germany, may have to consider closing borders if other European countries do not act to stem the spread of more contagious variants of the coronavirus.

For European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, an outright border closure is neither the way forward, nor a solution as effective as targeted measures against the pandemic.

The hypothesis of creating a vaccination certificate, which would restore travel between EU member countries, is under study but is divided.

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