Values over vaccines? The story of COVID jab diplomacy in Eastern Europe – News 24-7 Live News 24-7 Live
Values over vaccines? The story of COVID jab diplomacy in Eastern Europe

Values over vaccines? The story of COVID jab diplomacy in Eastern Europe

For many countries in Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans, the dilemmas thrown up by the dash to acquire COVID vaccines have been compared to those that existed during the Cold War.

Governments in the area have been presented with the questions: Which vaccine is best? Which can be available quickly? Do they risk damaging relations with the West if they look to Russia for their missing doses?

“What I like about the Cold War are the deeper ideological implications, because I do think vaccine diplomacy is about values more than vaccines,” Allison Carragher, a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe, told Euronews.

The specialist in the Western Balkans and countries of the former Yugoslavia sees the choice of where Eastern European countries can get their doses from as a “clash of two value systems”, with the Chinese and Russian vaccines on one side and the Western vaccines on the other.

“It’s not just about soft power or geopolitical goodwill, it’s about what are the values underlying those vaccine programmes,” she added.

Some of the broader issues thrown up by this divide that Eastern countries are having to consider are if they need transparency, to share data, to involve the private sector and to trust a regulator, according to Carragher.

But now, there is a broader spectrum of key players than there was during the Cold War, with some countries turning to China, points out Joanna Hosa, deputy director of the Wider Europe Programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

She agrees that countries in the area clearly prefer vaccines from their political allies, but added that the efficiency of the vaccines is also an important dimension.

Source News: euronews

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