Joe Biden faces EU fury of protectionist states with ‘fictitious’ solution to vaccines | World

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Joe Biden faces EU fury of protectionist states with ‘fictitious’ solution to vaccines | World


In the latest attack on the US president by Brussels, European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager told French daily Les Echos that Mr Biden’s proposal to waive vaccine patents was a solution ” fictitious ”to the scarcity of vaccines in less developed countries.

She said: “It is fiction to think that you can immunize the entire planet with a wave of a magic wand.
“Patents are not the problem. “

Former World Trade Organization chief and former EU trade commissioner Pascal Lamy also claimed that the US president’s call to drop intellectual property protection was a smart way to distract attention from the American reluctance to export jabs.

He told Politico that it is “difficult to assess the impact in the absence of any detailed proposal to come; [it] could be a smart diplomatic maneuver to distract from US vaccine nationalism.

The European Union is skeptical of the usefulness of waiving patent rights to COVID-19 vaccines as a way to fight the pandemic, but is ready to discuss a concrete proposal, the chairman of the European Council Charles Michel.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the second day of an EU summit in the Portuguese city of Porto, Mr Michel said the way to tackle the pandemic now is to fire more and lift the brakes on export to countries like the United States and Great Britain vaccines but do not sell them to others.

He said: “In Europe we have made the decision to make exports possible and we encourage all partners to facilitate dose exports.

“In terms of intellectual property, we do not think that in the short term this will be a miracle solution, but we are ready to engage in this subject as soon as a concrete proposal is put on the table. “

READ MORE: EU warning: Crisis looms as bloc set to lose £ 675bn

French President Emmanuel Macron said that with COVID-19 vaccines, the world could try to emulate what was done years ago with HIV drugs when these drugs became too expensive for poor countries.

He said: “We need to start a debate today about doing exactly as we did in the days of HIV, where intellectual property was a blockage, it should be possible to lift it, but in a limited way. “

He stressed that any action should not financially punish the companies that invented vaccine technology.

The EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, on Friday called on the United States and other major vaccine producers to export what they make.

Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen told a press conference that the waiver talks would not produce a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the short to medium term.

India and South Africa called last year for the lifting of patent rights on vaccines to boost manufacturing and secure supplies to the world.

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