(Source: European Commission)
“Check against delivery”
Mr President, dear Joe,
Mrs Vice President,
Thank you for calling this second global COVID-19 summit.
Today´s presence of leaders from across the world is a powerful signal. No issue is more important than people’s well-being. We cannot be complacent.
Because the pandemic is not over. Of course, safe and effective vaccines and better treatments have much reduced the pressure on our healthcare systems. And restrictions in many parts of the world are being lifted. But new variants will continue to emerge. And there is no guarantee that the next one will be mild. In addition, we must prepare for future pandemics or other health threats – beyond COVID.
So, in the EU, we are working hard to step up surveillance, strengthen our healthcare systems and improve preparedness. None of us can do this alone. And this is why international cooperation and solidarity have been at the heart of our EU’s response from the very beginning.
Until now Europe exported 2,2 billion doses of vaccine. In addition, Team Europe helped to set up and fund the ACT Accelerator and shared 470 million vaccine doses so far. Because we know: Global cooperation – including our EU-US partnership – is vital to end this pandemic.
We teamed up in our fight against COVID at the first summit in September. The joint statement we’re making today proves that our close cooperation is advancing the global effort to end the pandemic.
At our last meeting, in September, we focussed on sharing, supply and local production, as well as on ensuring sustainable financing. Now we must take our commitment to the next level. The supply of vaccines has to go hand in hand with speedy delivery, especially in Africa.
Today I can announce that the European Commission makes a financial commitment to enable vaccine delivery in the countries in need.
I also make a financing pledge to support the work of ACT-Accelerator on diagnostics, therapeutics and health systems.
In addition, we make sure that all regions have the capacity to produce their own medicines, locally. The recent agreement in the G20 to move ahead with a global pandemic preparedness fund is an opportunity for the global community. We will work together with the US and other partners to make it fit for purpose.
I can announce today that the Commission envisages a significant contribution to this fund as soon as its governance is established.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
the development of safe and effective vaccines in record time was an unprecedented achievement in the history of science. And it was international cooperation that made this success possible.
I am sure, Mr President, dear Joe, that our summit today will strengthen the global cooperation we need.