Complicated week for Úrsula von der Leyen, from whom the MEPs have asked for explanations about the vaccination process. The different political groups have demanded that the president of the European Commission explain what has gone wrong when negotiating with pharmaceutical companies.
“Everybody understands that if vaccines are developed at high speed and production capacity is increased, problems such as delays can occur, but I think the reason why trust in the European Union is breaking is not only caused by vaccines. It’s also the way the Commission, under von der Leyen’s leadership, is handling things. “, explained the Dutch MEP, Sophie in “t Veld, belonging to the Renovar Europa group.
Úrsula von der Leyen has assumed “full responsibility” for the impact that the mechanism to regulate exports of vaccines produced on European soil may have. A procedure that, in principle, would also apply to the border between the two Ireland. But after several comings and goings, the Commission announced that Northern Ireland, which was one of the sensitive points in the Brexit agreement, will be excluded. In this way, the drugs will be able to cross the open border between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
With vaccine supplies still limited, it will be difficult to vaccinate 70% of Europeans by the end of the summer. At the moment, Brussels has already announced the new calendar. 35 million doses are expected to arrive in February, 55 million in March, and 300 million between April and June.
For some MEPs, transparency is essential, but not a reason for the EU to bear all the responsibilities.
“We are going to go to court to obtain the transparency of these contracts. But are these the factors that caused the delivery problems? Tell me what is the link? There isn’t. The main problem we face comes from suppliers that do not meet deadlines. So I really don’t understand that multinational pharmaceutical companies are given such an advantage, but on the other hand, the finger is pointed at the Commission “, says Philippe Lamberts, Belgian MEP, The Greens.
Now, von der Leyen, together with the rotating presidency of Portugal, is trying to speed up production by proposing to industrially help pharmaceutical plants with which there has been no conflict.