Europeans forced to react to Joe Biden’s decision to support the lifting of vaccine patents

It cost Joe Biden nothing and he is now crowned champion of global solidarity in the war against Covid-19. This is in a nutshell the feeling that prevailed in Brussels, Thursday, May 6, after Washington’s announcement to support the lifting of patents on vaccines against Covid-19. “Joe Biden has a nice game to put the subject on the carpet, while a large part of its population is vaccinated, that the United States has not exported any dose of vaccine so far and that more than half of the laboratories whose vaccines are authorized are European ”, sums up a senior European official. And in addition, the US administration has not bothered to alert its European partners of its intentions, despite all its recent declarations of wanting to repair the transatlantic relationship after the mandate of Donald Trump.

“The United States did not warn anyone while we were looking for a common solution! “, plague a source within the French executive. And to continue: “It’s skillful in communication but we had been alone for a year to defend the vaccine as a global public good. ” Washington’s unexpected decision Wednesday evening forced Europeans to react. Hitherto reluctant, Emmanuel Macron said to himself, Thursday, “In favor of this opening up of intellectual property” while adding that, “What makes it difficult to access vaccines today is the transfer of technology and the capacity to produce. You can transfer the intellectual property to pharmaceutical manufacturers in Africa, they don’t have a platform to produce messenger RNA ”.

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Allow export

A few hours earlier in the morning, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, after stressing that the major challenge today is to increase the production of vaccines, assured that ” the European Union [UE] is ready to discuss how the US proposal can achieve this goal ”. On the occasion of a speech for the European University Institute in Florence, she recalled that, ” short term “, the urgency was above all for the producing countries to lift their restrictions to export their doses … just like what the EU is doing, “Main exporter of vaccines in the world”.

“In the immediate future, we call on all vaccine producers to allow export and avoid all restrictions that could disrupt supply chains” pharmaceuticals, insisted the former German minister. To date, Europeans have exported some 200 million doses outside the Union, which is as much as they have produced for their own consumption. “Europe is the most generous continent with the rest of the world”, defended Emmanuel Macron, Thursday, recalling that on the doses “Produced, for example by the British or the Americans, there are [en] at [eu] zero exported. (…) If there has been vaccine nationalism, we must not look to Europe ”.

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