The centre-right European People’s Party insisted that once approved, the COVID-19 vaccine must be available for all, not just for one country.
In a statement, the EPP said that “to find, test and approve a COVID-19 vaccine, we need unprecedented international cooperation, not national discrimination. Once developed, we must make sure everyone in the world gets the vaccine based on medical criteria and as quickly as possible.”
The statement was signed by Peter Liese MEP and Christian Ehler MEP, the EPP Group’s Spokesmen for Health and Industry respectively.
The MEPs referred to the fund-raising marathon held by the EU, which the welcomed, but argued that more action will be required. “For 30 years, EU research and development has laid the foundations of our ability to react to this crisis today. Research and innovation will be the engine to redress our economy”, stressed Ehler, adding: “Member States should invest at least 3 percent of their GDP in research and innovation and reinforce the funding for the EU research programme in the next long-term budget.”
“All vaccines have to be tested seriously before they are approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). We encourage their approach towards shortening the approval procedures, while maintaining high safety standards. It is crucial to be both quick and thorough. We also have to be prepared for the scenario that a COVID-19 vaccine is found in a third country which does not want to make it available to the whole world “, added Liese.
“EU Member States must cooperate to the fullest in order to develop a vaccine or a drug against COVID-19. It is in the interest of all for the vaccine to be developed in Europe. We have no time to waste “, reiterated the MEPs.