Merkel on Europe's vaccine mess: "On the whole, nothing went wrong"

In an interview with ARD, the German chancellor shared her thoughts on Europe's sluggish vaccination programme.

Merkel in the hotseat Tuesday night.
Merkel in the hotseat Tuesday night.Foto: dpa/Bundesregierung/Jesco Denzel

Berlin-In an interview on German TV Tuesday night, chancellor Angela Merkel(CDU) defended the EU's faltering corona vaccination strategy.  

When ARD's Rainald Becker asked what "went wrong" in the procurement process, Merkel said in her view "on the whole, nothing went wrong".

Of course, Merkel continued, questions remain: "Why is the USA faster? Why is Israel faster? Why is the UK faster?" To which the chancellor added: "Of course that's upsetting."

One explanation for the slow roll-out, according to Merkel, was that "in the UK, Astrazeneca got approval much faster, in one day, that is emergency approval".

The EU, she said, had decided instead to "go through the certification procedure thoroughly at the European Medicines Agency".

When asked whether this had been the right decision, Merkel answered: "It was not a mistake."

Would more EU money have resulted in more vaccine?

The chancellor said spending more money would not have led to more doses being delivered to European countries. Asked to comment on America's speedier vaccine programme, she said: "The United States of America has production capacities, and America exports virtually nothing."

"We as Europeans are dependent on our own production facilities."

Merkel then promised: "We will be able to offer a vaccine to everyone by the end of the third quarter, and I think that is an important message."

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