During a video conference meeting of the General Affairs Council of the European Union, Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi reiterated Malta’s support for continued EU-wide COVID-19 coordination.
The Portuguese Presidency of Council, which commenced on 1st January, convened the meeting to prepare for the EU leaders’ informal video conference meeting scheduled for this week, in which Prime Minister Robert Abela is expected to participate.
In his intervention, Dr Zrinzo Azzopardi welcomed the work by the European Commission on behalf of all member states in procuring the vaccines. He stated that it is now important for all member states and the Commission to work together to ensure that all the contractors live up to their obligations. He also welcomed the Commission’s efforts towards stepping-up the production of vaccines to accelerate deliveries.
Concerning vaccination certificates, Dr Zrinzo Azzopardi stated that a COVID-19 vaccination certificate should be used to facilitate the movement of persons within the EU, rather than act as a barrier to free movement. He further remarked that EU coordination on this issue is critical, as the absence of such coordination could lead to unilateral approaches that may themselves result in increased restrictions within the EU. Malta also looks forward to progress on the task mandated by leaders on the mutual recognition of tests.
The parliamentary secretary appealed for the consistent reassuring message to all our citizens, that their efforts are paying off while continuing to remain vigilant and adhere to the measures communicated by the respective health authorities.
Other items on the agenda of the meeting included a discussion on the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency as well as the Conference on the Future of Europe.