Gathered for a summit in Porto, the leaders of the 27 countries of the European Union responded to Joe Biden who wants to lift the patents on vaccines against Covid-19. For Europe, it is first necessary that the United States authorize the exports of vaccines, more urgent according to the institution to fight against the pandemic. And the lessons of generosity from Americans weren't really appreciated.
The tone hardened on Saturday afternoon in Porto, where the leaders of the 27 EU countries are meeting.
Europe in general, and more particularly France, did not appreciate much that the United States came to give lessons in generosity on vaccines.
Indeed, the surprise announcement of the support of Joe Biden's administration for the lifting of patents on vaccines against Covid-19 in order to accelerate their production and distribution to poor countries has shaken up the agenda of Europeans.
The Twenty-Seven were overwhelmingly skeptical about this proposal, seeing it as a media stunt.
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"Lift export bans!"
In response, the European Union returned the ball to the United States, calling on Washington to make "concrete proposals" and to end its ban on the export of serums and their components. "I call very clearly on the United States to end the export bans, not only of vaccines but also of their components, which prevent production. The key to producing vaccines faster for all poor countries or countries. middle income is to produce more. Lift export bans! ", Emmanuel Macron said.
For his part, Clément Beaune, Secretary of State in charge of Europe, denounced the coup of the Americans: "Sometimes, in glitter and communication, we forget the real action that is being carried out. I prefer a concrete solidarity, to announcements which remain imprecise and abstract, which open up real debates but which sometimes send Europeans back to a form of complexity or candor, whereas in the end, it is Europe which delivers the world in vaccines, especially those who need them most. "
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50% of doses produced in the EU exported to 90 countries
Of the 400 million doses already produced in the European Union, about 50%, or 200 million, have gone to 90 countries, said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who also announced on Saturday the conclusion of a new contract with Pfizer-BioNTech to guarantee the EU up to 1.8 billion doses, which is much more than its own needs. As a reminder, in February, France pledged to give 5% of its vaccine doses to African countries.
However, the EU does not refuse to discuss the lifting of patents. "We must be ready to discuss this subject as soon as concrete proposals are put on the table," reacted Charles Michel, the President of the Council, who represents the Member States. "We do not think that, in the short term, this can be a magic solution," he warned, however. "This is not something that will bring vaccines in the months to come, or perhaps even in the year to come. However we need vaccines now," added Ursula von der Leyen.