Parliament to discuss call for waiver of COVID-19 vaccine patents 

On Wednesday morning, MEPs will debate a proposal to the WTO to waive intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines, a move backed by the US administration.

Several of Parliament’s political groups have called on the Commission to ask for a waiver of intellectual property rights (IPR) for COVID-19 vaccines to support global vaccination efforts. They reiterated the call after the US administration recently announced its support for a waiver.

Ursula von der Leyen said recently that, while the EU is “open to discussions” on a temporary IPR exemption, production bottlenecks, investment in global manufacturing and contributions to the COVAX scheme still remain key priorities for expanding global access to vaccines.

A resolution will be put to the vote during the 7 - 10 June session.


Any decision on waiving intellectual property rights would be taken by the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) TRIPs Council. In October last year, India and South Africa initiated at WTO level a proposal to temporarily exempt from IPR protection all patents related to COVID-19 prevention, containment and treatment. In March 2021, a group of MEPs and EU national parliamentarians called on the Commission to drop its opposition to the waiver.

Procedure: Council and Commission statements, with resolution voted on in June

Debate: Wednesday, 19 May

Vote: 7-10 June session