Letter on vaccines and answer by the European Commission7. Dezember 2020
Honorable President von der Leyen,
Honorable Commissioner Kyriakides,
Honorable Commissioner Hahn,
we, the undersigned Members of European Parliament, who are responsible for the Budget 2020, have supported the Draft Amending Budget 8/2020 for the necessary and fast response to counteract the consequences of the COVID-19 on the European health systems and to bring forward a vaccine against COVID-19. We warmly welcome the strengthened activities on health and the production of vaccines from the European Commission. When it comes to health the European Union should take a leading role.
For the latter purpose, the Commission has already concluded Advance Purchase Agreements (APAs) with several pharma companies. In the Draft Amending Budget 8/2020 the European Parliament has approved up-front payments to the companies, like Astra Zeneca.
However, the Commission has so far denied providing the European Parliament with any further information on the procurement process as well as the contract conditionalities of the APAs referring to confidentiality of the contracts. Further, we are still waiting for an answer, how the Commission will ensure, that access to the vaccines will be granted in a just manner, reaching the most vulnerable first.
We as budgetary authority and Members of Parliament responsible for the budget 2020 regret the lack of transparency in this matter and call on the Commission to make the conditions of the APAs transparent as well as disclose all APAs to the Members of European Parliament.
Given that vaccines are being developed also thanks to the public financial support with taxpayers’ money from the EU and EU member states, it is especially important that the public interest of scientific rigor, safety and transparency is strongly preserved.
A disclosure of the APAs is key for ensuring our role as budgetary authority. If necessary, we would start parliamentary initiatives guaranteeing this will be respected.
We would like to thank the Commission in advance for their cooperation and the disclosure of the APAs concluded in 2020 and in the future.
Rasmus Andresen (Greens/EFA),
Spokesperson of the Greens/EFA in the Committee of Budgets
Shadow rapporteur for the Budget 2020
Monika Hohlmeier (EPP),
President of the Committee of Budgetary Control,
Rapporteur for Budget 2020
Pierre Larrouturou (S&D),
Shadow rapporteur for Budget 2020,
Rapporteur for Budget 2021
Valerie Hayer (Renew),
Spokesperson for Renew in the Committee of Budgets
Dimitrios Papadimoulis (GUE/NGL),
Spokesperson for GUE/NGL in the Committee of Budgets,
Shadow rapporteur for Budget 2020 and Budget 2021
Dear Honourable Member,
I would like to thank you and the co-signatoriesfor your letter recognizing the EU efforts to fight COVID-19 and the Commission’s role in establishing and financing the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A).
As I stated during the last G20 meeting, one ofmy top priorities is to end this pandemic. This is why Icalled for USD 4.5 billion to be invested in the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) as soon as possible. Likewise, the Leaders‘ Declaration resulting from the G20 Riyadh Summit states that no effort will be spared to ensure affordable and equitable access to COVID-tools for all people. G20 leaders fully support all collaborative efforts, especially the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) initiative and its COVAX facility, and the voluntary licensing of intellectual property [and] commit to addressing the remaining globalfinancing needs’.
The European Union is providing a financial package ofEUR 500 million to the COVAX Facility to secure access to future COVID-19 vaccinesfor everyone: EUR 100 million in the form of grant funding from the European Development Fund, and EUR 400 million in guaranteed loans backed up by the European Fund for Sustainable Development. Furthermore, several EU Member States are contributing to COVAX and its underlying objectives, highlighting another example ofthe Team Europe spirit that has mobilised so far more than EUR 850 million for the COVAX AMC alone. The Commission has pledged
another EUR 100 million to Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) from the EU Research Framework Programme Horizon 2020 to accelerate the development of COVID vaccines.
The European Commission participates in the ACT-Accelerator Facilitation Council and attaches the greatest importance to transparency in all its proceedings, including the development andpurchase ofvaccines through the COVAXpillar.
We certainly need urgent action to make sure that the COVID-19 ends as quickly as possible and to prevent future pandemics. This will require a clear commitment to global health security, sustained financing for stronger and more resilient health systems and universal health coverage. The European Parliament plays an important role, not least in ensuring accountability ofpublic policies. I will continue to welcome very much your support and involvement.
Ursula von der Leyen