Europe's week: AstraZeneca jab troubles and Turkey's diplomacy mistake

Europe's week: AstraZeneca jab troubles and Turkey's diplomacy mistake
Copyright Lefteris Pitarakis/The Associated Press
Copyright Lefteris Pitarakis/The Associated Press
By Euronews
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button
Copy/paste the article video embed link below:Copy to clipboardCopied

The European Medicines Agency said the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine could potentially cause rare blood clots and Commission President von der Leyen got sidelined in Ankara. Here's a look at two key stories making the news in Brussels this week.


AstraZeneca's woes continued this week after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said there is a "possible link" between the company's jab and a rare form of serious blood clots.

But the EMA still recommended its use in the fight against COVID-19, saying the benefits outweigh the risks.

"This vaccine has proven to be highly effective. It prevents severe disease and hospitalisation, and it is saving lives...we need to use the vaccines we have to protect us from the devastating effects," of this virus, the EMA's Executive Director Emer Cooke said during a press conference on Wednesday.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker has said it was working with global authorities to better understand the vaccine's side effects.


Europe's international agenda was consumed by a diplomatic faux-pas in Ankara this week.

During a visit to Turkey to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was relegated to a socially distanced spot on a sofa, whilst Council President Charles Michel sat next to the Turkish leader.

Commission spokesman Eric Mamer told reporters that any future such incident will not be tolerated again.

"The president expects the institution that she represents to be treated with the required protocol and she has therefore asked her team to take all appropriate contacts in order to ensure that such an incident does not occur in the future," Mamer said.

What quickly became known as sofagate distracted from Erdogan's authoritarian record and the talks between Brussels and Ankara.

Von der Leyen and Michel had traveled to Turkey in a bid to ease the latest tensions.

The EU wants to re-engage with Turkey in a constructive manner and to make it clear to Erdogan that further provocations will come at a political price.

Yunus Ulusoy from the German Centre for Turkish Studies told Euronews that the diplomatic blunder in Ankara was unlikely deliberate.

"I cannot imagine that Turkey would have done such a thing on purpose. Turkey's interest right now is to move closer to Europe and the West," Ulusoy said.

"Under these circumstances, such a thing would be unthinkable. In addition, if Turkey and the Turkish president had a better image, we would probably talk about the incident differently, but given their bad image, you get sofagate."

Share this articleComments

You might also like

State of the Union: Protecting nature and controlling big tech

State of the Union: War economy and humanitarian aid

State of the Union: Defence of democracy and aid for Gaza