Merkel backs joint European efforts in fighting COVID-19 pandemic


BERLIN, March 25 (Xinhua) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday defended the joint European course in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in her government declaration in the Bundestag, the lower house of German parliament.

“Despite all the difficulties, I believe that the pandemic has once again shown that it is good that we have the European Union (EU),” Merkel said ahead of a video conference of the members of the European Council.

EU leaders would focus on accelerating COVID-19 vaccine production and distribution during their two-day meeting starting Thursday, according to the German government.

“It was right to rely on the joint procurement and approval of vaccines by the European Union,” stressed Merkel.

As shown by the debates over small differences in distribution, Merkel said that she did not want to imagine what would happen if some EU countries had vaccines and others did not. “This would shake the internal market to its foundations.”

It was also necessary to ensure independent production of the vaccines in Europe, according to Merkel. The problem was not how much could be ordered, but how much Europe could produce itself.

Germany has recorded more than 2.71 million cases and 75,440 deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic, according to the official data. As of Wednesday, more than 3.6 million people had been fully vaccinated in the country, bringing its vaccination rate to 4.3 percent. Enditem


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