The European Union has accused Russia of delaying the mutual recognition of coronavirus vaccine certificates to ease travel between countries.
EU Ambassador to Russia Markus Ederer said the 27-member bloc had sent the Russian Health Ministry “all the information and requests needed to decide on recognizing the equivalence” of EU and Russian certificates.
“Russia has not yet prepared the necessary documents to be sent to the European Commission in Brussels,” Ederer told Russia’s RBC news website in an interview published Friday.
“I regret this, because mutual recognition of equivalence, including by Russia, would definitely make life easier for people traveling in both directions,” he said.
The EU already has so-called certificates of equivalence with 16 countries and is on track to approve them with 15 more, Ederer added.
Addressing the long pause in the European Medicine Agency’s (EMA) approval of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the EU envoy also laid the blame on Moscow.
“When Russian officials talk about delays and politicization by Europe, it sometimes seems to me that they're mostly talking about themselves because they’re the ones who are politicizing the issue,” Ederer told RBC.
“Russia repeatedly postpones the timing of the inspection request by the EMA, which slows down the process. This is a technical, not a political process,” he said.
The interview detailing the EU’s displeasure was released the day after the World Health Organization (WHO) said the problem behind its suspension of Sputnik V’s approval process last month has been resolved.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which markets Sputnik V worldwide, later said a WHO delegation will visit Russia as part of its approval procedure later in October.
Russia has Europe’s highest total Covid-19 death toll of at least 213,500 people, and its second-highest caseload of almost 7.7 million.