(Photo: Pixabay) (Photo: Pixabay)

The European Union is still lagging behind Great Britain and the USA in the immunization of its population against COVID-19.

The European Commission has signed contracts with several vaccine producers and pre-ordered amounts of doses exceeding the needs of the Union, but the problem has appeared due to the producers' failure to deliver on their promises.

This particularly refers to the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca, whose amounts in the first quarter of 2021 were three times lower than agreed.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for the EU to set up a working group tasked with examining why ordered vaccines had not yet been delivered.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said it was unacceptable for 70 million vaccine doses to end up in third markets and not shipped to Europe. He also said confirmed that Commission President Van der Leyen was struggling to secure the delivery of every dose.

The slow delivery of doses, namely AstraZeneca, has especially affected countries such as Croatia, which have pre-ordered more AstraZeneca shots than vaccine doses from other companies.

In order to alleviate these imbalances, the accelerated delivery of the Pfizer vaccine has been agreed and 10 million doses are expected in the second quarter of this year - of which Croatia can expect to receive between four and five percent of those doses.

On Thursday evening, EU leaders will also discuss transatlantic relations together with US President Joe Biden. The single market, digital transformation, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, relations with Russia and the international role of the euro are also on the agenda.

Source: HRT