More than 100 EU parliamentarians back India-South Africa proposal for Covid vaccine IPR waiver

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Feb 24, 2021, 11.50 PM(IST)

Representative image Photograph:( Reuters )

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The proposal for waiver was given by India and South Africa jointly last year. It, however, faces stiff opposition from western countries, including the EU.

As many as 114 European Union Parliamentarians or MEPs have issued a declaration calling European Commission and the European Council to not block waiver for Covid vaccine intellectual property rights (IPR) at the World Trade Organisation. 

The proposal for waiver was given by India and South Africa jointly last year. It, however, faces stiff opposition from western countries, including the EU.

The declaration said, "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."

Pointing out to the need for an IPR waiver, it said, "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."

The development comes ahead of the European Council meeting on Thursday and the crucial decision to be made by all Member States at the WTO General Council on March 1-2.

The European Parliament is made up of 705 members elected in the 27 member states of the enlarged European Union. The MEPs, who have backed the declaration, include Kathleen Van Brempt, Anna Cavazzini, Benoît Lutgen, Philippe Lamberts, and Marie Arena etc.

Calling for "constructive dialogue" with partner countries, the declaration highlighted that the action will "enable local production capacities (for covid vaccine) and increase their access to COVID-19 treatments."

It reminded COVID-19 medical products are "global public goods" and the statements by the European Commission, which is the executive branch of the European Union have not "translated into actionable realities."

The WTO met on Tuesday to discuss the proposal and with consensus yet to be achieved.

The LDC group (least developed countries) -- consisting of 35 members -- have come out in support of the proposal.

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