Vaccine supply chains must stay open, resilient: EU President

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 14, 2021

European Council President Charles Michel   -  REUTERS

Through India-EU joint effort, Covax has delivered over 38 million doses to 100 countries

EU President Charles Michel has made a strong case for open and resilient supply chains for Covid-19 vaccines emphasising that countries needed each other at this time of crisis.

“We all know that ramping up the production of vaccines is an enormous challenge. We all need each other: for components, equipment, and fill- -and-finish vials, for instance. This is why we must make sure that our supply chains remain open and resilient,” Michel said at the Raisina Dialogue on Wednesday.

Also read: Foreign Ministers’ talks: India, France discuss ways to speed up India-EU trade and investment pact

The Raisina Dialogue, jointly organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation, is being held virtually this year.

Both India and Europe are major producers of vaccines, Michel pointed out, adding that together, through Covax, the two have also supported low and middle income countries in their vaccination efforts. “Thanks to our joint efforts, Covax has delivered more than 38 million doses to 100 countries across the globe,” the EU President said.

Due to a surge in Covid-19 cases in India, several States have been complaining about a shortage in vaccines. This has forced the Centre to go slow on exports although a ban has not been imposed on outbound shipments.

On Tuesday, Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar defended countries seeking to focus on their citizens’ needs for vaccines by arguing that if a country was under stress and the numbers of those infected was going up, like in India, it was legitimate to re-purpose production to where the immediate challenge lay.

Investment opportunities

Michel pointed out that it was in India and the EU’s mutual interest to maximise the untapped potential of trade and investment between our two major economies. “Concretely, we propose to focus on four strands of cooperation: Covid-19; climate change; economic cooperation; and security and peace,” he said.

As checking climate change needed the cooperation of all major economies, the bloc was striving for a joint EU-India commitment to green growth, circular economy and clean energy, Michel said. These will be needed all over the world and will create jobs and economic opportunities, he added.

Published on April 14, 2021

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