On Friday, the Federal Chancellor and Minister of Health will consult with the state bosses about further steps in the matter of Corona.
Unlike the last EU summit, this one is not entirely dominated by Corona. Point 1 on the agenda is the rising prices on the energy market, point 2 the big issue of migration. Especially on the border between Belarus and Poland, numerous people are being held in the freezing cold, and politicians of the ÖVP and FPÖ also see a new wave rolling in due to the crisis in Afghanistan. The third point is the legal dispute in Poland, where the judiciary is currently taking precedence over EU law.
Federal Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg only came to the topic of Corona when answering the following questions. These were a little shorter than expected – the Chancellor was late. The reason he named the longer than planned EPP meeting and farewell speech by Angela Merkel.
The stress probably also meant that Schallenberg was temporarily canceled and that he has now been Federal Chancellor for ten days. But more on that later.
Mückstein meeting on next steps
There are currently frightening corona numbers in Romania (14-day incidence of around 859), Austria had to help the state with intensive care patients. In Austria, too, the 4,000 new infections are already being scratched, Vienna announced immediately beforehand that it would extend the tougher measures.
“This is very serious,” summarizes Schallenberg. On Friday he will therefore also meet with the governor and health minister Wolfgang Mückstein to discuss the next steps. “The main goal must of course be to raise the vaccination rate.”
“I as Foreign Minister”
Then the curious slip of the tongue: “As Foreign Minister, I find that so bitter,” said the Chancellor, that there is actually enough vaccine in Austria, but vaccination coverage is stagnating anyway. “We have enough and stumble into a pandemic – without need – of the unvaccinated, the procrastinators and hesitants, and that is bitter, I think.”
The purpose of the agreement on Friday is to create new incentives for vaccination. But it will also be about showing perspective: “The next few months will be difficult for the unvaccinated if the situation does not change.”
Coupled with this is the very strong appeal: “Please use the opportunity, get vaccinated, convince people in your personal environment too.” It is about the health of all of us. Those who still hesitate should be convinced. After the talks, clear decisions will be presented over the weekend.
After a “Nothing is ruled out” for further measures, the Chancellor has to leave the press point almost painfully. “Unfortunately I have to – I have to? – Yes, I’m sorry. I think we still have an opportunity (laughs). Thank you very much.”