In a declaration to the European Commission and European Council, a cross-party group of 115 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have urged the European Commission and the European Council to drop their opposition to the TRIPS waiver proposal at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Such a waiver would enable greater access to affordable COVID-19 health technologies, including vaccines, in particular for developing and middle income countries.
In the declaration, MEPs stress that “the EU’s open opposition to the TRIPS waiver risks exacerbating a dangerous North-South divide when it comes to affordable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, personal protective equipment, treatments and vaccines. The WTO decision on a potential waiver offers a crucial and much-needed act of effective solidarity, as it is an important step towards increasing local production in partner countries and, ultimately, suppressing this pandemic on a global scale. As the Commission President has repeatedly stated, no one is safe until everyone is safe.”
The call for a TRIPS waiver from MEPs, representing all 27 Member States, comes the day before a meeting of the European Council scheduled on 25 February 2021 and the crucial decision to be made by all Member States at the WTO General Council on 1-2 March 2021.