Drug giant AstraZeneca has submitted an application to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to license its Covid-19 vaccine, which was co-developed with Oxford University.
The EU regulator said it had received a request for the approval to be expedited and it could be confirmed by January 29 "provided the data submitted on the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine are sufficiently robust and complete".
The EMA, the drug agency for the 27-nation EU, has already approved two other coronavirus vaccines: one made by American company Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech, and another made by US biotechnology company Moderna.
Switzerland approved the Moderna vaccine yesterday.
Britain gave its approval to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in December, while India approved it this month.
As part of its strategy to obtain as many different Covid-19 vaccines as possible for Europeans, the EU said it had concluded early talks with French biotech company Valneva to secure up to 60 million doses of vaccine.
Valneva previously signed a deal with Britain to provide tens of millions of doses.
The EU has sealed six vaccine contracts for up to two billion doses.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be a key vaccine for many countries because of its low cost, availability and ease of use. It can be kept in refrigerators.
The company has said it will sell it for $2.50 (€2) a dose.
Researchers claim the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine protected against disease in 62pc of those given two full doses and in 90pc of those initially given a half dose because of a manufacturing error.
However, the second group included only 2,741 people - too few to be conclusive.
Questions also remain about how the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.