Here are some new details on the vexing matter of vaccines and the troubling German deal. This afternoon, 13.1.2021, Sebastian Gülde from the German Ministry of Health’s press department has provided some extra information to FinnishNews on Germany’s procurement of vaccines from Biontech. He states simply:
“Thank you very much for your inquiry. Germany secured 30 Million additional doses of Biontech, as of other manufacturers which have been funded by the German government. Preliminary agreements were concluded for this purpose, each in the form of a memorandum of understanding. This was done with BioNTech for 30 million doses. The aim is to ensure the earliest possible delivery. At the same time, this should not delay the delivery of the doses ordered by the EU – also for Germany.”
This communication does not explain when the deal was agreed or if it was in breach of the EU agreement. According to a report from Elena Sánchez Nicolás at the EUOBSERVER the German health minister, Jens Spahn, has confirmed that Germany had signed a memorandum of understanding with BioNTech last September 2020 for 30 million additional vaccine doses, a decision, according to Elena Sánchez Nicolás, which seems to put at risk the principle of solidarity between European countries.
This is plainly the case – Jens Spans must have been aware of the EU agreement not to enter into bilateral agreements for vaccines since the EU commission was already in negotiations in September to finalise the EU-wide contracts with the Pfizer and BioNTech that were signed in November.
According to the same article in the EUOBSERVER it therefore appears that Germany was indeed in a breach of EU agreements which prohibit member states from negotiating separate deals.
“The only framework we are negotiating in is as 27. We do this together, and no member state on this legal-binding basis is allowed to negotiate in parallel or to have a contract in parallel,” the president of the EU executive, Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen, told reporters on Friday (8 January).
Biontech is a German company that has been financed by German taxpayers. According to media reports Berlin gave the German company $445 million in an agreement in September to help accelerate the vaccine by building out manufacturing and development capacity in its home market. This appears to have been agreed at the same time as the delivery of the vaccines.
However, that does not give Germany the right to make such deals in breach of a EU agreement. A mentioned in FinnishNews today, the Finnish government has refrained from such deals even though they are financing research on possible vaccines.
The question we should be asking is why is the EU and Germany not being transparent in dealing with this matter?
It appears that Ms. von der Leyen and Ms. Merkel to owe EU taxpayers an explanation.