India Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Photo/Twitter)
India Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Photo/Twitter)

PM Modi asks EU to support TRIPS waiver, EU doesn't see it as magic solution

By Naveen Kapoor | Updated: May 09, 2021 00:06 IST

New Delhi [India], May 8 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asked EU leaders to support the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver to COVID-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to remove hurdles in ramping up vaccine production. EU leadership, however, is a divided house on TRIPS waiver and does not see it as a short-term solution for vaccine shortage and equitable distribution.
India and South Africa had proposed TRIPS waiver at the WTO last year, recently US President Joe Biden-led administration had lent support to the waiver. The EU however has not taken a position and does not see it as a "magic solution".
President of the EU Council Charles Michel said, "In the EU, we have debates about intellectual rights and vaccines....there are different feelings that were expressed around the room but we are ready to support any effort which can lead to increase in vaccine production, vaccine delivery. Nevertheless, in the short term, many of us think that this may not be the magic solution, that is why we want to keep a close eye and keep on discussing it."
"We should also have a close look at the issue of licensing, these are important topics to discuss but we should be aware of the facts that these are topics of long term.... these are not topics of short and medium term. We should not lose sight of the main urgency now which is ramping up the vaccine production as quickly as possible and ensuring they are fairly distributed," President of European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said.
Meanwhile, India which is in the middle of a deadly second wave of COVID believes EU support for the waiver will play a big role in ramping up vaccine production and will keep a watch on the evolving view of the European Union.
Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Vikas Swarup briefing reporters on India-EU Summit said, "PM Modi invited the EU to support TRIPS waiver which we have put forwards with South Africa so that there can be equitable vaccine access for the entire world and as the US has already supported it, we will be watching evolving EU position on this issue."
EU leadership discussed with Prime Minister Modi cooperation in areas of vaccine production. The EU also expressed interest in partnering on the vaccine front and is already working with African partners with help of European banks. One of the EU members also suggested vaccine cooperation at Indo Pacific.
"Each and every leader spoke today underlined the need for greater cooperation between India and EU for ensuring vaccine production including a proposal from one of the EU leaders for a partnership with India in Indo Pacific for ensuring vaccine access" Secretary Vikas Swarup added.
President of the EU commission emphasised, "EU is the pharmacy of the world and open to the world, so far 400 million vaccines are produced and 200 million are exported to 90 other countries. We invite others to do the same, this is the best way in the short term to approach bottle necks and lack of vaccines around the world".
"The PM appreciated the EU swift response for mobilising support to India's COVID-19 response as you would recall India has kept supply chains open during the first wave of COVID-19 last year and supplied essential drugs to EU countries. The EU current assistance is an example of trusted partners supporting each other in times of need," the MEA secretary added. (ANI)