News ID: 90004
Publish Date : 08 May 2021 - 22:04
PORTO, Portugal (Dispatches) — European Union leaders cranked up their criticism of the U.S. call to waive COVID-19 vaccine patents Saturday, arguing the move would bring no short or midterm relief. They instead urged Washington to lift export restrictions if it wants to have a global impact on the pandemic.
"We don’t think, in the short term, that it’s the magic bullet,” said EU Council President Charles Michel on the second day of an EU summit in Portugal. French President Emmanuel Macron insisted that giving any priority to discussing intellectual property rights now "is a false debate.”
Instead, they joined previous EU calls for U.S. President Joe Biden to start boosting U.S. vaccine exports to contain the global COVID-19 crisis, insisting it was the most urgent need.
"We encourage all the partners to facilitate the export of (vaccine) doses,” said Michel.
France added its weight. "I’m very clearly urging the U.S. to put an end to the ban on exports of vaccines and on components of vaccines that are preventing them being produced,” Macron said. Hundreds of components can go into a vaccine.
He mentioned the Curevac company, saying it could not produce a vaccine in Europe because components are blocked in the United States.
The U.S. has kept a tight lid on exports of American-made vaccines so it can inoculate its own population first. The UK has acted similarly.
"First of all, you must open up,” said Macron in a call to the United States. "First of all, the Anglo Saxons must stop their bans on exports.”
Pope Francis came out in support of waiving the intellectual property rights. In a speech to a global fundraising concert to promote fair access to vaccines, the pope said the world was infected with the "virus of individualism”.
"A variant of this virus is closed nationalism, which prevents, for example, an internationalism of vaccines,” he said in the pre-recorded video message.
"Another variant is when we put the laws of the market or of intellectual market or intellectual property over the laws of love and the health of humanity,” he added, recalling the heavy death toll the coronavirus had inflicted on the world.
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