The Hungarian health authorities are the only European country to approve the Sinopharm vaccine, which means that as an EU member state it is against the joint approach. The Russian vaccine Sputnik V is already being used in Hungary.
Brussels is ‘not amused’, says Central Europe correspondent Jeroen Akkermans. “This was not the agreement, Brussels hoped to prevent ‘vaccine nationalism’ through a joint approach. The EMA has not even approved the Chinese and the Russian vaccine. Hungary’s ‘all entrance’ affects the credibility of the EU. . “
Orbán has previously criticized the EU’s process of approving and buying vaccines. According to him, that is going too slowly. Akkermans: “Orbán has a point, but he is not the only one in Europe with this criticism. Brussels does not deny that it made mistakes and started distribution too slowly.”
The difference is that, unlike other critical countries, Hungary has decided to enter the international market itself. “That is painful for Brussels”, says Adriaan Schout, EU expert at Clingendael Institute and professor of European Public Administration at Radboud University. “Of course it is also painful that Orbán is giving China space again, while the relationship between the EU and China is already scouring.”
Schout is also critical of EU vaccine policy. “It is quite understandable that the EU wants to test every product itself, but it could also accept test results from a limited number of other countries if their procedures are good. Then things would go faster.”
Population does not trust it
Meanwhile, Orbán tells the Hungarians that strict lockdown measures cannot be relaxed until many people have been vaccinated. With his public vaccination and positive reports in the Hungarian state media, he wants to convince his population that the Sinopharm vaccine can be trusted.
But so far, the country has mainly been mistrustful. Akkermans: “Orbán wants to set an example with his vaccination, but there is great skepticism about the Russian and Chinese vaccines. The Hungarians are not yet enthusiastic about them.”
This is also evident from the reactions on Facebook, where the video of Orbán’s prick can be seen. There it is openly doubted whether the Hungarian prime minister has really been vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Orbán is in a hurry. He wants all Hungarians to be vaccinated before Easter. But only those who have registered.
Akkermans: “They have been promised a rapid vaccination. But without authorization from the EMA it will still be difficult for Orbán. The approximately three million vaccines ordered from Russia and China are nowhere near enough to vaccinate the nearly ten million Hungarians. or later he will also knock on the door of Brussels again. “