The EU is exploring ways to support neighboring countries in their efforts to obtain COVID-19 vaccines, the European Commission’s spokesperson for neighborhood policy said on Wednesday.

Ana Pisonero Hernandez confirmed that the European Commission had received a letter on Wednesday from thirteen EU countries that calls for facilitating the access to coronavirus jab to a bigger group of neighborhood countries.

The signatories – Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Sweden – welcome the EU’s current efforts to smooth the Western Balkan states’ access to jabs.

“At the same time, we believe that the EU has to go beyond the current initiatives and give similar attention and support to other EU neighbors – the countries of the Eastern Partnership – if they wish so”, the letter said.

The Eastern Partnership is a joint initiative which aims to strengthen ties between EU member states and its six Eastern neighbors: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

“We are exploring how we can help our Western Balkans and our immediate neighborhood to the East, the South and even further,” Pisonero Hernandez said.

She also explained that besides EU countries and institutions, other international financial organizations might be involved in the program.

The EU, which has a population of 450 million, made agreements with six vaccine producers to buy about 2 billion vaccine doses.​​​​​​​

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