“The European Union and others have spent large sums of money building research capacities and production facilities. Europe has invested billions in developing the first vaccines against COVID-19. Now companies have to comply. “From a speaker much more powerful than the European Commission press room, such as the Davos Forum, although this year it is held virtually, the president Ursula von der Leyen, has again demanded that pharmaceutical laboratories respect their commitments and supply the committed vaccines within the agreed deadlines.
“Companies have to honor their obligations and that is why we will create a vaccine export transparency mechanism. Europe is willing to contribute but this also means business, “he recalled during his speech. The idea, as announced yesterday by the health commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, and community spokespersons have repeated this Tuesday, is to know in advance the destination of the vaccines that are produced in community territory.
For this, the Community Executive will propose a mechanism of transparency in exports which will oblige companies to notify in advance when they want to export vaccines to third countries of their destination. The only exception will be vaccines that are sent for humanitarian reasons. The new instrument will thus make it possible to avoid doubts and mistrust generated by the delay announced last Friday by British pharmacist AstraZeneca, which assured that it will not be able to meet the deadlines agreed with the EU for the delivery of vaccines during the first quarter of the year but whose explanations have been insufficient so far.
“We would like to have the information. That is why we have invited Astra Zeneca once again this Wednesday. We are trying to understand what the problem is, if the doses are sent to other sites. We have signed a contract with AstraZeneca in August. Member States started submitting their requests in October. And we are at the end of January. We think that the doses should be available as soon as the marketing authorization is recommended by the European Medicines Agency, “explained von de Leyen’s spokesman.
New biodefense program
During her speech, the German leader also stressed the importance of joining forces in the face of challenges such as the pandemic because “no private company or public authority” can achieve it alone. Therefore, it has announced that will launch the creation of a public-private biodefense program, within the framework of the health emergency response authority, which will be based on three pillars: it will be proactive in preparing the EU for a future pandemic, it will guarantee access to long-term financing in a way that avoids having to reallocate resources each time , and will unite European manufacturers and regulators.
“We know that preparation is everything and we know that in a pandemic there is no time to lose”von der Leyen said of a program that will aim to detect emerging or new pathogens at an early stage and develop a faster and larger-scale response. “This is not only valid for the pandemic but for most social challenges,” he recalled during an intervention in which he recalled that at the previous Davos Forum, a year ago, the attention was focused on Donald Trump and the global stability and climate activist Greta Thunberg but there was only one voice – former White House pandemic adviser Richard Hatchett – who warned of the severity. “He said: this is not a Chinese problem. It is everyone’s problem and it has been,” he assured.
Control of the tech giants
In addition to the risks of the pandemic, von der Leyen has also referred to the risks that threaten the planet’s biodiversity, climate change and digital platforms. In this field, he has invited the new United States Government, which leads Joe Biden, to work together in the creation of a regulatory framework to control the power of the technological giants because digital platforms not only have an impact on free and fair competition but also on the quality of our information. “We need to contain the immense power of big digital companies”He said, stressing that “we cannot accept that decisions that have an impact on our democracies are made by computer programs.
“We want internet companies to assume their responsibility for the way they disseminate, promote and eliminate content,” he added, citing the blocking of the account as an example. Donald Trump. “No matter how tempting it was for Twitter to shut down President Trump’s account. Such serious interference with freedom of expression should not be based solely on company rules,” he recalled. “I invite our friends in the United States to join our initiatives. Together we can create a guide to the digital economy that is valid around the world,” he defended.