Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis participated in the European Council video conference on the European Union's strategy for dealing with the pandemic late on Thursday.
According to government sources, the prime minister, together with Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Denmark's Prime Minister Merte Frederiksen, said it was essential to speed up the licensing of vaccines that are in the final stage of evaluation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) - such as that developed by Oxford University in collaboration with AstraZeneca.
Mitsotakis also noted that Europe must henceforth ensure that it takes the lead in developments on the licensing front, the sources said, especially with regard to the approval of vaccines that require a single dose or which do not require ultra-cold storage, which could transform the roll-out of national vaccination campaigns.
He clarified that the three EU leaders' initiative does not seek to exert political pressure on the EMA but to bypass time-consuming bureaucratic procedures, which delay decisions based on sound scientific criteria.
In his speeches, the same sources reported, Mitsotakis additionally stressed the need to fully comply with the vaccine delivery schedules agreed with the pharmaceutical companies for the first quarter of 2021, underlining that in the fight against Covid-19 there is no time to lose.
At the same time, the prime minister presented his proposal for establishing a European vaccination certificate, clarifying that the initial aim is to reach an agreement on its technical specifications and to standardise its form.
He said this would enable the appropriate preparations to be made, so that Europe is ready to discuss its use when the percentage of European citizens who have been vaccinated has increased significantly.
In addition, regarding the emergence of mutant coronavirus strains, the prime minister stressed the importance of an exchange of best practices between the EU member-states on how they can be tackled effectively.