EU sees no “miracle solution” in patent release | Free press


Porto (dpa) – The European Union does not see the US initiative to release patents as a ‘miracle solution’ to provide the world with corona vaccine.

This was said by President Charles Michel of the EU Council on Saturday at the EU summit in Porto, Portugal. At the same time, he campaigned for the rapid removal of export barriers. Nevertheless, the EU is ready to talk as soon as a concrete proposal is made from the US.

The 27 EU states had discussed the surprising move of US President Joe Biden on Friday evening. If patents were withdrawn, manufacturers would be able to produce corona vaccines worldwide without licensing fees. According to information from EU circles, Chancellor Angela Merkel had clearly opposed the release of the patent – in part because specialist knowledge about new types of mRNA vaccines – such as those from Biontech / Pfizer – could flow to China.

Council Chief Michel said of the patent release: “We don’t think this is a miracle solution in the short term.” One is ready to talk. At the same time, international partners should be encouraged to facilitate the export of corona vaccines.

According to its own statements, the EU is currently the only democratic region to export corona vaccines on a large scale. More than 200 million cans were exported from the EU – roughly the amount delivered within the Union. However, the US keeps the vaccine it produces in the first place: in late April, Biden confirmed that initially every American should have access.

French President Emmanuel Macron said there is currently not a single factory in the world that cannot produce cans for poor countries due to a lack of patents. The problem is production and export restrictions. These should be abolished and factories expanded. Patent rights should only be suspended if they restrict supplies to the poorest countries.

Dozens of countries have been demanding the release of patent rights for months. Biden’s support for this comes as a surprise. Critics argue that the new vaccines are so complex that third parties cannot produce them without the support of the developers. The main obstacles are a lack of production facilities, knowledge and stocks of raw materials.

The focus of the EU summit in Porto was actually on strengthening social rights in the state community and the commitment to a fair and good job recovery after the Corona crisis. To this end, the EU states signed a solemn declaration of commitment with trade unions and employers’ associations on Friday. Chancellor Merkel takes part in the summit via a video link.

In it, those involved commit to specific goals to noticeably improve the social situation in 2030. Employment rates will increase, more workers will need to be trained and poverty reduced. On Saturday, the heads of state or government also supported these goals in principle in their own “Porto Declaration”. They are intended to help realize the Pillar of Social Rights agreed in 2017.

On Saturday afternoon, the heads of state and government want to get in touch with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a video summit. Agreement must be reached on the resumption of negotiations on a free trade agreement, as Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission, said. “There are close links between the EU and India, but also a lot of untapped potential.”

But the dramatic corona situation is likely to overshadow EU-India talks. India reported more than 4,000 corona deaths within 24 hours for the first time on Saturday and again more than 400,000 new infections. According to Indian sources, more than 40 countries have brought relief supplies. The EU has also activated its emergency aid.