EU’s von der Leyen meets pharma bosses for pandemic strategy talks

0
7
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen makes a press statement in Brussels, Belgium, Dec. 13, 2020. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Sunday that the European Union (EU) and UK negotiating teams have been mandated to continue the post-Brexit trade talks. After a
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen makes a press statement in Brussels, Belgium, Dec. 13, 2020. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Sunday that the European Union (EU) and UK negotiating teams have been mandated to continue the post-Brexit trade talks. After a "constructive and useful phone call" with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, von der Leyen said it remains to be seen if an agreement can be reached even "at this late stage." (European Union/Handout via Xinhua)

dpa/GNA – European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen held strategy talks with seven chief executives from pharmaceutical firms with EU Covid-19 vaccine supply contracts on Sunday, as the bloc faces immense pressure over its inoculation strategy.

“The pandemic highlighted that manufacturing capacities are a limiting factor. It is essential to address these challenges,” the EU executive chief said in a written statement sent out after the videoconference.

The meeting focused on pandemic preparedness, the new coronavirus variants and manufacturing, according to the press release.

The commission is to set up a new EU Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) in cooperation with the private sector to help anticipate threats and come up with responses, von der Leyen said, with a pilot scheme already being launched.

“Industry will be an important partner” in improving longer-term preparedness but also more immediate Covid-19 challenges, von der Leyen stressed.

Among those present was AstraZeneca, the British-Swedish firm currently locked into a showdown with the EU over substantial delivery delays of the first of the 300 million shots the bloc ordered.
Von der Leyen struck a conciliatory tone: “It was a very constructive meeting, with numerous practical suggestions.”

The heads of German firm BioNTech and its US partner Pfizer also took part, along with Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, Moderna and Curevac.

The EU triggered a huge backlash by setting up a vaccine export control system this week. The 27 countries are trailing behind Israel, Britain and the United States in vaccinating their populations.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here