Procedure : 2021/2692(RSP)
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Document selected : B9-0310/2021

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B9-0310/2021

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PV 10/06/2021 - 2

Texts adopted :


<Date>{02/06/2021}2.6.2021</Date>
<NoDocSe>B9‑0310/2021</NoDocSe>
PDF 163kWORD 49k

<TitreType>MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION</TitreType>

<TitreSuite>to wind up the debate on the statements by the Council and the Commission</TitreSuite>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>


<Titre>on meeting the global COVID-19 challenge: effects of the waiver of the WTO TRIPS Agreement on COVID-19 vaccines, treatment, equipment and increasing production and manufacturing capacity in developing countries</Titre>

<DocRef>(2021/2692(RSP))</DocRef>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Michiel Hoogeveen, Geert Bourgeois, Jan Zahradil</Depute>

<Commission>{ECR}on behalf of the ECR Group</Commission>

</RepeatBlock-By>


B9‑0310/2021

European Parliament resolution on meeting the global COVID-19 challenge: effects of the waiver of the WTO TRIPS Agreement on COVID-19 vaccines, treatment, equipment and increasing production and manufacturing capacity in developing countries

(2021/2692(RSP))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to the joint statement of 20 April 2020 by the Directors-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and World Health Organization to support efforts to ensure the normal cross-border flow of vital medical supplies and other goods and services,

 having regard to the WTO information note of 22 December 2020 on issues with trade impact in developing and delivering COVID-19 vaccines around the world,

 having regard to the Rome Declaration adopted at the Global Health Summit on 21 May 2021,

 having regard to the report of the Global Health Summit Scientific Expert Panel of 21 May 2021,

 having regard to the statement issued by Commission President von der Leyen following the Global Health Summit of 21 May 2021,

 having regard to the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), as amended on 23 January 2017, and in particular Articles 31 and 31bis thereof,

 having regard to the Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and public health adopted at the WTO’s Fourth Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, on 14 November 2001,

 having regard to the communication issued by India and South Africa and co-sponsored by Bolivia, Egypt, Eswatini, Kenya, Mongolia, Mozambique, Pakistan, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, the African Group and the Least Developed Countries Group of 2 October 2020 on the waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19,

 having regard to the communication from South Africa of 23 November 2020 on examples of intellectual property issues and barriers in the COVID-19 pandemic,

 having regard to the announcement by US President Biden of 5 May 2021 on a temporary waiver from the TRIPS Agreement,

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas while the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccinations is proceeding steadily in the EU Member States, this is not yet the case in many non-EU countries, notably low- and middle-income countries;

B. whereas it is of paramount importance to ensure vaccinations for the most vulnerable populations in low- and middle-income countries at an affordable cost;

C. whereas in addition to being a terrible humanitarian crisis, the dire situation currently experienced by India is also having an impact on global vaccination;

D. whereas the International Monetary Fund estimates that if vaccine distribution is accelerated, more than EUR 7 trillion could be added to global GDP if the virus is kept under control;

E. whereas the EU continues to play a leading role in the fight against COVID-19 on the global stage in exporting more than 210 million vaccine doses from the EU and making a massive contribution to the COVAX facility, through which it has shared up to 67 million European vaccine doses, as well as bilaterally;

F. whereas the single most effective way to achieve global vaccination is to continue to ramp up production, to make vaccines affordable and to share vaccines more widely and rapidly;

G. whereas the global production of COVID-19 vaccines is rapidly increasing, with estimates showing that 10 billion doses will be produced in 2021; whereas there are more than 200 licensing and technology agreements in place between pharmaceutical companies;

H. whereas while voluntary licences are more effective as an instrument to facilitate the expansion of production and the sharing of know-how, compulsory licences are a perfectly legitimate tool in the context of a pandemic;

I. whereas patent protection is a key incentive for innovation and research and, most notably, a driver for the successful and speedy development of a range of effective COVID-19 vaccines; whereas patents create an environment of trust and enable companies to licence their innovations legally, thereby promoting access to innovation;

J. whereas undermining the system of intellectual property protection could also jeopardise the EU’s capacity to innovate in the future;

Increasing production capacity

1. Agrees with the Council and the Commission that universal and fair access to COVID‑19 vaccines and treatment across the globe is a top priority;

2. Believes that ramping up vaccine production and facilitating a wider, faster and fairer distribution of vaccines should be the EU’s primary objective; stresses that this is the single and most effective way to achieve global vaccination as soon as possible;

3. Urges the Commission to foster collaboration between vaccine innovators and manufacturers and to facilitate extensive cooperation between vaccine developers and manufacturers on the basis of technology and know-how transfers; firmly believes that voluntary arrangements are the most promising avenue to ramp up vaccine production in the short term;

4. Welcomes the launch of the Commission’s initiative to help scale up vaccine manufacturing in Africa;

5. Considers that vaccine developers should be ready to enter into arrangements that facilitate the supply of vaccines to low- and middle-income countries at production cost and low cost respectively; urges the Commission to fully utilise its leverage during the negotiations for the next generation of COVID-19 vaccine contracts to encourage vaccine developers to supply to low- and middle-income countries at production cost and low cost;

Utilisation of TRIPS facilities, compulsory licencing system

6. Supports the Commission’s proposals to the WTO to make the existing TRIPS flexibilities as least cumbersome as possible;

7. Agrees with the Commission, however, that during a pandemic it is perfectly legitimate to have recourse to compulsory licensing, to dispense with the obligation to negotiate with the rights holder, and to utilise compulsory licensing to cover exports to all countries that lack manufacturing capacity;

COVAX and sharing of vaccines

8. Recalls that the EU is a global leader in delivering effective vaccines to the rest of the world, exporting more than 210 million doses to 45 countries so far – as many doses as have been delivered to Europeans;

9. Fully supports the COVAX facility and believes that the EU should remain a major contributor; endorses the effective ‘Team Europe’ approach and welcomes the fact that donations will be significantly ramped up through COVAX in the second half of 2021; highlights that the vaccine sharing announced by the EU Member States has so far amounted to 11.1 million vaccines, 9 million of which were shared via COVAX;

10. Expects all vaccine producers and developers to make concrete pledges to increase supplies to vulnerable developing countries;

11. Calls on all countries that can produce vaccines and have vaccinated a large part of their population to follow the EU’s example and to immediately start sharing their production at affordable prices with other countries in need;

Lifting export restrictions and minimising export controls

12. Underlines that it is essential to ensure the free flow of trade in vaccines and vaccine ingredients at all times; encourages all member states of the WTO to remove export restrictions currently in place and to keep supply chains open;

13. Urges the WTO to promote further rules on the transparency of production and supply chains as well as trade facilitation measures;

Structured dialogue on a temporary and targeted TRIPS waiver

14. Expresses scepticism about the usefulness of a TRIPS waiver as the principal solution for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide; stresses that patent protection is a key incentive for innovation and research across the globe;

15. Underlines, in this respect, that the protection of intellectual property rights was a key driver behind the swift research and incredibly fast and successful development of the range of effective COVID-19 vaccines available today; highlights that the protection of intellectual property rights did not stand in the way of the constructive international cooperation between researchers and between innovators and manufacturers;

16. Is open to discussing all effective and pragmatic solutions to further boost global vaccine production and calls on the Commission, in particular, to engage with the US and other like-minded countries in this respect; believes, however, that in this context the Commission can only examine specific proposals relating to a time-limited and targeted waiver as a measure of last resort, and only once the broad support of EU Member States for such a targeted, extraordinary and temporary measure has been assured;

17. Urges the Commission to ensure, in the event that WTO member states should ultimately decide to make use of the temporary TRIPS waiver, that the quality and safety of the vaccines produced in such non-EU countries is sufficiently high, that there is no increased risk of counterfeiting, and that the free supply of key vaccine ingredients to vaccine manufacturers within the EU can always be guaranteed;

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18. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

 

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