The law on vaccination from February 1st could be adjusted and also suspended before the end of the two years, said Edtstadler on Friday during the visit of the German Minister of State for Europe, Anna Lhrmann (Greens) in Vienna. Lhrmann also advocates compulsory vaccination in Germany.
“We all don’t know what the virus intends to do with us,” said Edtstadler in a joint press conference with Lhrmann. The government hopes to achieve the necessary corona vaccination rate with compulsory vaccination and not to need to take any further steps. “But we are also prepared for any further steps. We can – both in terms of the vaccines, in terms of the intervals between the vaccinations, and possibly further booster vaccinations – adapt.” The government is in close contact with experts. Some epidemiologists believe that compulsory vaccination should come into force at a later date because of an expected autumn wave and further vaccine approvals.
Lhrmann also supports compulsory vaccination, since Germany has not managed to achieve the appropriate vaccination coverage without such a vaccination. “We can only vaccinate ourselves out of the pandemic together.” Austria is “a step further than Germany” when it comes to compulsory vaccination, where the debate has only just begun. Germany look at Austria here. In addition, Lhrmann called for more commitment to the global distribution of vaccines. A vaccination requirement at European level may change Edtstadler for their part “not present” because this is a national competence.
“Boosters for Democracy”
There was agreement between Lhrmann and Edtstadler also in relation to the so-called taxonomy, the classification system for sustainable investments in the EU. There is “agreement that the greenwashing of nuclear energy in the taxonomy is a big mistake,” said Lhrmann. Also Edtstadler emphasized that Germany is very critical of nuclear energy, while Austria is “clearly opposed” to it. The German Minister of State had traveled “climate-neutral” to Austria on the night train. It was the second trip abroad by the member of the new German traffic light coalition.
Lhrmann and Edtstadler emphasized the desire for more intensive cooperation between Germany and Austria. “The chemistry is right” between the two, he said Edtstadler. A common concern is the European future conference. Lhrmann described them as “boosters for democracy in Europe”. The aim is to make the EU more democratic and capable of taking action. Added as a key point Edtstadler the question of how the future conference will continue after May. She does not rule out treaty changes in order to make the European Union “fit for the future”.
Both ministers also emphasized their support for the EU enlargement of the Western Balkans and the need for all EU member states to comply with the rule of law.