Declaration from Members of the European Parliament to urge the Commission and Member States not to block the TRIPS waiver at the WTO and to support global access to COVID-19 vaccines

24. Februar 2021

We, Members of the European Parliament, urge the European Commission and the European Council to review their opposition to the TRIPS waiver proposal at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which serves to enable greater access to affordable COVID-19 health technologies, including vaccines, in particular for developing and middle income countries. This call comes in view of the European Council meeting of 25 February 2021 and the crucial decision to be made by all Member States at the WTO General Council on 1-2 March 2021.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the need to ensure global open access to COVID-19 health technologies and to rapidly scale up their manufacturing and supply has been widely acknowledged. However, despite efforts and statements made by the European Commission and several heads of state in support of treating COVID-19 medical products as global public goods, this has not yet translated into actionable realities.

In this context, the EU’s open opposition to the TRIPS waiver risks exacerbating a dangerous North-South divide when it comes to affordable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, personal protective equipment, treatments and vaccines. The WTO decision on a potential waiver offers a crucial and much-needed act of effective solidarity, as it is an important step towards increasing local production in partner countries and, ultimately, suppressing this pandemic on a global scale. As the Commission President has repeatedly stated, no one is safe until everyone is safe.

Besides the removal of potential legal barriers to production of health tools, enabled by the TRIPS waiver, the sharing of know-how and technologies with GMP manufacturers from third countries is essential. Pharmaceutical companies must play a proactive role in this regard. Thus far, the EU strategy has mostly focused on domestic production. In view of the difficulties of manufacturers to deliver the committed doses to the EU and the EU’s export control mechanism, it is crucial to enable production outside the EU.

As stated by the European Commission, the challenges of the 21st century call for more multilateral governance and rules-based international cooperation. The EU must step up its leadership and ensure it promotes a genuine multilateral system of solidarity, supporting all countries to respond efficiently to the pandemic. While we acknowledge the Commission’s support to the COVAX facility, the unwillingness shown at the WTO to consider all options to scale up global production of vaccines and to engage in a substantive dialogue with a growing number of sponsors of the TRIPS waiver is very concerning.

We, members of the European Parliament, therefore call on the Commission and the Member States not to block the proposed TRIPS waiver, and to engage into a constructive dialogue with partner countries, in order to enable their local production capacities and increase their access to COVID-19 treatments.

Kathleen VAN BREMPT
Anna CAVAZZINI
Udo BULLMANN
Mohammed CHAHIM
Benoit LUTGEN
Philippe LAMBERTS
Maria ARENA
Barry ANDREWS
Paul TANG
Tilly METZ
Tiemo WOELKEN
Marc ANGEL
Marc TARABELLA
Kateřina KONEČNÁ
Margrete AUKEN
Kira PETER-HANSENS
Benoit BITEAU
Sylvie GUILLAUME
Nikos ANDROULAKIS
Gabriele BISCHOFF
Rasmus ANDRESEN
Andreas SCHIEDER
Sven GIEGOLD
Ernest URTASUN
Terry REINTKE
Inmaculada RODRÍGUEZ-PIÑERO
Marc BOTENGA
Manon AUBRY
Brando BENIFEI
Agnes JONGERIUS
Kim VAN SPARRENTAK
Mick WALLACE
Clare DALY
Cornelia ERNST
Tudor CIUHODARU
Reinhard BÜTIKOFER
Silvia MODIG
Hannes HEIDE
Martin HÄUSLING
Joachim SCHUSTER
Piernicola PEDICINI
Petros KOKKALIS
Anne-Sophie PELLETIER
Saskia BRICMONT
Dimitrios PAPADIMOULIS
Tiziana BEGHIN
Mounir SATOURI
Sara CERDAS
Erik MARQUARDT
Fabio Massimo CASTALDO
Carlos ZORRINHO
Romana JERKOVIC
Milan BRGLEZ
Samira RAFAELLA
Cindy FRANSSEN
Michèle RIVASI
Manuel BOMPARD
Sira REGO
Mario FURORE
Chris MACMANUS
Nikolaj VILLUMSEN
Idoia VILLANUEVA
Lara WOLTERS
Bas EICKHOUT
Carles PUIGDEMONT
Antoni COMIN
Clara PONSATI
Leila CHAIBI
Marcel KOLAJA
Pernando BARRENA
Isabel SANTOS
Jordi SOLÉ
Mikulas PEKSA
Sara MATTHIEU
Pascal ARIMONT
Alex AGIUS SALIBA
Raphaël GLUCKSMANN
Eleonora EVI
Łukasz KOHUT
Helmut SCHOLZ
David DRUI
Francois ALFONSI
Damien CAREME
David CORMAND
Karima DELLI
Gwendoline DELBOS-CORFIELD
Claude GRUFFAT
Yannick JADOT
Caroline ROOSE
Marie TOUSSAINT
Salima YENBOU
Alviina ALAMETSÄ
Massimiliano SMERIGLIO
Patrick BREYER
Eugenia RODRÍGUEZ PALOP
Aurore LALUCQ
Nils USAKOVS
Evelyne GEBHARDT
Ville NIINISTÖ
João FERREIRA
Giorgos GEORGIOU
Evelyn REGNER
Alessandra MORETTI
Manu PINEDA
Günther SIDL
Patrizia TOIA
Margarida MARQUES
Sandra PEREIRA
Tonino PICULA
Diana RIBA I GINER
Javier LÓPEZ
Giuliano PISAPIA
Miroslav ČÍŽ
Hannah NEUMANN
Jutta PAULUS
Chiara GEMMA