The two-day EU social summit concluded in the northern Portuguese city of Porto on Wednesday, with EU leaders agreeing to suspend intellectual property exemptions for the coronavirus vaccine.
European Commission President Jean-Claude von der Leyen told a news conference that EU leaders believe that the issue of intellectual property immunity for coronavirus vaccine is not a top priority and that EU countries face many more pressing issues. Europe needs to speed up vaccine production, increase vaccine production and ensure fair and reasonable distribution of vaccines. While the issue of intellectual property exemptions for vaccines is important, it is not an issue to be discussed in the short to medium term and needs to be discussed in the long run.
She said about 160 million people in the EU are currently vaccinated against the first dose, or 25 percent of the EU’s population. The EU is stepping up production of vaccines to ensure that the target of 70 per cent of the EU’s adult population is met in July.
Von der Leyen announced that the European Union has signed a new vaccine procurement contract with Pfizer, which will receive 1.8 billion doses by 2023.
The leaders of the European Council, the European Parliament, the European Commission and the leaders of the 24 member states attended the summit live, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders of the three countries attended online. French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Portuguese Prime Minister Costa all expressed support for a moratorium on exemptions from vaccine intellectual property rights during the summit.