On 1 December, the informal General Affairs Council discussed COVID-19 coordination. This issue being of importance not only for the EU, but also for its neighbours, the Ministers of Western Balkans candidate countries were invited to the meeting.
Ministers agreed that further EU coordination was of paramount importance, in particular in the context of the upcoming Christmas holiday’s season, as regard alignment of travel rules (including common digital Passenger Locator Form) to preserve the integrity of the Schengen area and the single market.
Mutual recognition of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests was also key, as well as common efforts to ensure future access to vaccines to all citizens. In the same way, national testing strategies, establishment of priority groups for vaccination and tracing apps interoperability needed to be well coordinated. All considered the discovery of the different COVID-19 candidate vaccines as a historic success for EU research. They stressed the importance of communicating on facts regarding vaccination in order to fight disinformation, thus ensuring sufficient vaccine acceptance.
They broadly agreed on the need to complete negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and “NextGenerationEU” as soon as possible. All welcomed the upcoming Health package and need to build a strong European Health Union, while recalling primary responsibility for Health policy was within Member States.
- Publication date
- 15 December 2020
- Directorate-General for Research and Innovation