Postage (dpa) – The US proposal to release patents is not a quick fix from an EU perspective to the global shortage of corona vaccines. Many heads of state or government made this clear during their meeting in Porto, the German news agency learned from EU circles.
Chancellor Angela Merkel was clearly against the release of the patent. The CDU politician also used the argument that expertise on the new mRNA vaccines could flow to China, he said. The People’s Republic could use this know-how more easily than developing countries.
US President Joe Biden was surprisingly behind calls from poorer countries to suspend patent protection for Covid-19 vaccines. Then manufacturers around the world could produce the vaccines without licensing fees. Critics object that the obstacle is not the patents, but the production capacity, knowledge and raw material stocks.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said in Porto that the release of patents would not result in an extra dose of vaccine in the short and medium term. Rather, the vaccines produced should be shared and exported. “We invite everyone involved in the debate about a waiver of intellectual property rights, as we are willing to export much of what is produced in this region,” she said.
The EU underlines that it is currently the only democratic region to export corona vaccines on a large scale. More than 200 million cans were exported from the EU, about the same number as here. However, the US will primarily keep the vaccine it produces itself. Biden said last week that the vaccines from the US would also become an “arsenal” for other countries in the future. “But every American has access to that.”
Most of the 27 EU heads of state or government have traveled to the informal social summit in Porto. There they agreed on concrete goals with trade unions and employers’ associations on Friday evening to noticeably improve the social situation by 2030. Employment rates are on the rise, more workers need to be trained and poverty is reduced.
Von der Leyen emphasized that the recovery from the Corona crisis and the digital and green change in the economy are now about creating good, future-proof jobs. Corona’s development aid of up to EUR 750 billion would help. But they should start soon now. The program is larger than the Marshall Plan launched by the United States after World War II.
Chancellor Merkel did not travel to Portugal due to the pandemic in Germany, but switched on temporarily via video. According to information from EU circles, one dinner was also about the distribution of the corona vaccines in Europe. This is now going well. The development of the digital vaccination certificate is also progressing, but must be accelerated even further. The system should work from June and make travel easier.
Today, the heads of state or government are in concert on the implementation of social rights. In addition, they network via video with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The subject should be the start of negotiations on closer trade relations. Moreover, it is probably about the dramatic consequences of the pandemic in India.