This was surprisingly suggested by US President Joe Biden. But at the EU summit in Porto, there was mostly skepticism about this.
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel openly rejects it, and France’s President Emmanuel Macron also disagreed: “It’s not the patents, it’s the production,” he pointed out. Vaccines could only be produced with the necessary know-how. However, the current global shortage of vaccines cannot be alleviated so quickly with the release of patents.
EU as the largest exporter of vaccines
Rather, Macron recommended: The US, which does not export vaccines, should rather lift its export ban. The EU, on the other hand, is the largest exporter of corona vaccines in the world: So far, 200 million doses have been exported to 90 countries – about as many as were inoculated within the EU.
However, there was no clear no to the release of patents in Porto either. One wants to wait for a concrete proposal – this has to come from the World Trade Organization. “We do not think that this is a miracle solution in the short term,” said EU Council President Charles Michel. But a discussion about it will not be closed.
Speed for the “Green Pass”
In around two and a half weeks, when the EU heads of state and government meet for their next special summit in Brussels, a discussion should be over: the one on the “Green Passport”, those who have been tested, vaccinated and recovered from corona in Europe at last should enable more freedom.
Until then, one hopes for a Europe-wide agreement, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is pushing for it. At the moment there are still differences of opinion – between countries that want to completely lift the quarantine for holders of the “Green Passport” and countries like Germany that want to impose further restrictions if the situation deteriorates.
Austria leads the way
“If no European solution can be found, Austria will also conclude bilateral agreements with other countries,” announced Kurz. Some EU states would introduce the passport in their own country, like Austria, in May, and they too would conclude bilateral agreements. “The open questions are not that complex, it is about the abolition of the quarantine and the recognition of documents. This is not nuclear physics,” insists the Chancellor.