Sweden is among 13 European Union countries calling for the COVID-19 vaccine to be made available to six neighboring European Union countries arguing "our borders will not be safe if we do not extend our support to our immediate neighbours".
In a letter sent to the European Commission, it was written that there is strong support for the efforts and initiatives of member states and the European Commission "to share the vaccines from the allocated contracts with the closest EU neighbours, such as the Western Balkan countries".
But the 13 members believe these efforts should now be extended to the Eastern Partnership countries Azerbaijan, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
"We believe that our borders will not be safe if we do not extend our support to our immediate neighbours. Our Eastern Partners have on numerous occasions expressed their appreciation for the EU's COVID-related assistance and pleaded for facilitated access to the vaccine," the letter states.
"We call on the Commission to quickly develop a similar support mechanism that the Commission has already launched with regard to the Western Balkans countries. In the context of the upcoming EaP Summit (foreseen for the first half of 2021) we need to send a strong and coordinated message on the strategic value of the EaP."
The letter was signed by the ministers of foreign affairs from Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden.