In a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and his Spanish, French, Danish and Swedish colleagues argue in favor of increasing production of corona vaccines and scaling up distribution to all corners of the world. “This is not only a moral and a political issue, but also an epidemiological one. We will not be safe until everyone is safe,” they write.
The letter comes a few hours before the start of the European summit in Porto, Portugal, and amid the discussion whether temporarily lifting the patents on corona vaccines can help to administer more vaccines worldwide in the short term.
On May 21, the Commission and G20 President Italy will organize the ‘Global Health Summit’ in Rome. “That is why Europe must now show its leadership in bringing about a global response to the pandemic,” write De Croo, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, French President Emmanuel Macron and the Prime Ministers of Denmark, Mette Fredriksen, and Sweden, Steffan Löfven. “We understand that we are asking this as Europe tries to accelerate its own vaccination campaign, but we cannot deny our responsibility. As soon as conditions permit, we must be able to contribute to international efforts to tackle this global health crisis. . ”
According to De Croo and his colleagues, vaccines have become an aspect of international security policy. “If the EU doesn’t take up its role, others will fill the vacuum and use vaccines as a geopolitical tool.” That is why increased European production capacity should be a priority, argue the five leaders.
But at a time when Europe is already the world’s largest exporter of vaccines, it must use the momentum to show leadership to bring public and private partners together to “increase global production and distribution of safe, effective and affordable vaccines,” and to ensure that vaccine know-how and technology is proactively shared. ” To emphasize once again: “We must now join forces with the private sector.”
Specifically, they are also asking for the green light for the ‘EU vaccine sharing mechanism’, which the Commission put on the table in January. The mechanism is a European version of COVAX, the global instrument to give low and middle-income countries access to vaccines. The EU mechanism focuses mainly on the Western Balkans, the EU’s eastern and southern neighbors and Africa.
The approach to the corona pandemic and the vaccination strategy are high on the agenda in Porto on Friday evening