European Interest

VDL to appear before Left group as vaccines debacle boils over

flickr/The Left/CC BY 2.0

Left MEPs are to grill Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday at 16.00 CET as the EU continues to struggle with reliable supply of vaccines to beat the pandemic.

The Commission has taken on the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines on behalf of member states hoping that this would give the EU leverage over pharmaceutical companies.        The last few weeks have confirmed, however, what Left MEPs have been warning about with the Commission browbeaten by pharmaceutical companies and unable to enforce the contracts it has signed under a veil of secrecy.                                                             The Left’s Co-President Manon Aubry welcomed VDL’s belated appearance:

“I am pleased that Commission President von der Leyen is appearing before MEPs of the Left group so we can hold her accountable. However, the Commission will have to do much more to rebuild its tarnished image and win back the confidence of EU citizens.             “We will present to VDL the concerns of millions of citizens struggling under this public health and social emergency, demanding transparency and change away from the current approach of prioritising profits of Big Pharma over the rights and the health of EU citizens.”

Co-President Martin Schirdewan demanded a radical change of approach from the Commission:

“We look forward to questioning President von der Leyen and getting to the bottom of the Commission’s bungled response to the Covid-19 pandemic.                                          “We expect from the Commission President straightforward and honest answers but this won’t be enough. We need to see from the Commission a complete rethink about how it has approached the pandemic and greater sensitivity to the immense hardship ordinary Europeans are facing. The lives of EU citizens must not be held hostage to Intellectual Property Rights. The Covid-19 vaccine must be a public good.”

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