Following the debate today in plenary on the state of play of the EU’s Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy, the Socialists and Democrats reiterate the need to gear up production and distribution in the EU, as well as globally. No one is safe until all are safe.
S&D leader, Iratxe García, said:
“Enough with the prophets of doom! Let's be demanding and constructive. This is an unprecedented global challenge: we need to vaccinate the world’s population at the same time. I don't think that vaccine nationalism will take us very far. So let's focus on solving problems to increase production; in cooperation with the industry and also with the international organisations. We are all tired, but we see the light at the end of the tunnel and our citizens deserve a message of hope.
“Having said that, we need more transparency and accountability from the European Commission. Those Commissioners involved in the Vaccination Strategy, such as Stella Kyriakides and Thierry Breton, should come periodically to the Parliament to inform the MEPs and to answer our questions.
“We can already draw some lessons from this crisis: that the European Union’s instruments must be strengthened, and in particular the Health Union.”
S&D coordinator in the environment committee, Jytte Guteland, said:
“Solidarity and the joint European procurement approach is the only way forward if we consider that no one is safe until all are safe. Any process of introducing a vaccine into the EU single market must, by necessity, go through the European Medicines Agency to ensure the safety, efficacy and quality of the vaccine. Now though, we need to gear up with vaccinations and boost production in Europe of the now approved vaccines.
“The Commission and member states must be encouraged to explore options on how to move forward quickly; for example through closer cooperation between the manufactures in order to increase the total production.
“Furthermore, with billions of euros from the budget of the Emergency Support Instrument committed, the public deserves more transparency and answers about the Union’s efforts - this is the best cure against the current criticism.”
S&D coordinator in the development committee, Udo Bullmann, added:
“We are in a deadly race against the clock, in Europe as well as globally. Only if we significantly boost the production now, and manage a fair and sufficient distribution worldwide, can we break the vicious circle of increasingly dangerous mutations.
“We expect the EU Commission to become a leading actor in a necessary global strategy.”