BERLIN – Germany maintains its opposition to relaxing patent protection for COVID-19 vaccines as the Group of Seven summit approaches.
While many developed countries with strong pharmaceutical industries were hesitant or outright opposed to the idea, the debate kicked off last month when the Biden administration announced its support for granting waivers for vaccines.
But a senior German official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity under departmental rules, said Thursday: “We don’t think a waiver is helpful or is in fact the problem, and nothing has changed. on this subject.”
The official noted that talks are underway at the World Trade Organization in Geneva and said they could lead to “improvements within the system.”
When asked if Germany plans to announce giving more vaccines to poorer countries after the United States unveiled plans to donate 500 million doses globally, the official said that Germany had done “a lot” on three tracks: sharing of doses, financing of purchases via the COVAX program and exports.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said last month that Germany was ready to donate 30 million doses by the end of the year to the poorest countries “assuming, of course, that the vaccines we have ordered actually arrive “. This would be part of a larger donation of 100 million doses by the European Union.
Germany has not said when the donations will start.
BERLIN – Germany sees an important message from this year’s Group of Seven summit: multilateralism is back.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is attending her last G-7 summit after nearly 16 years in office, has been a key advocate for a multilateral approach to world affairs, unlike the former president’s administration American Donald Trump.
When asked what message Merkel wanted to send to the summit, a senior German official replied: “The message of the summit as a whole – and this represents what the Chancellor has stood for in recent years – is that multilaterism, and the G-7, is back. “
The official, who said there was a lot of common ground in pre-summit negotiations, stressed that issues such as climate change, the pandemic and many more can only be resolved together. .
The official spoke on condition of anonymity according to department rules.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is criticized for traveling to the Group of Seven summit in Cornwall, rather than taking the train, as he urges world leaders to do more to tackle global warming.
Environmental activists bombarded Johnson’s Twitter feed with suggestions that the Prime Minister should practice what he preaches after posting a photo of himself getting off the plane along with a call to turn the world back ” better, fairer and greener ”.
“This is how serious Boris Johnson is in tackling the climate emergency: he has flown to Cornwall,” tweeted Zarah Sultana, an opposition Labor lawmaker.
According to figures published on the UK government’s website, domestic flights generate around six times more greenhouse gases than train travel. A train trip to Cornwall takes around five hours, compared to less than 90 minutes for a flight.
Johnson is welcoming the leaders of the world’s seven richest democracies to this weekend’s summit at the Carbis Bay complex in Cornwall. The agenda includes discussions on climate change, the global response to COVID-19 and the taxation of multinational corporations.
LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the nations of the world must put aside the ‘beggar my neighbor’ attitude that has led to feuds over drugs and treatment for COVID-19.
Johnson said Thursday that Group of Seven leaders meeting this weekend in Carbis Bay in southwest England will pledge to vaccinate the world by the end of 2022.
The British leader wrote in The Times of London that it is time for the rich countries to “take responsibility and vaccinate the world”.
But it faces criticism as the UK has yet to send any doses abroad and has slashed its international aid budget, citing the economic blow from the pandemic.
Johnson said on Thursday Britain would donate “millions” of doses from excess stocks – although he did not specify when.
Johnson also noted that the British government had helped finance the development at the University of Oxford of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which accounts for 1 in 3 vaccine doses worldwide.
President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the United States will buy an additional 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to share with poorer countries over the next year.
BRUSSELS – Senior European Union officials join calls to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, stepping up pressure on China to be more open to the virus, ahead of the Group of Seven.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday that “we need to know where this is coming from in order to learn the right lessons and develop the right tools to ensure it does not happen again”.
Von der Leyen said that “investigators need full access to everything necessary to really find the source of this pandemic.” She said Europe had responded reasonably well to the heavy economic impact of virus restrictions, as it had learned the right lessons from the 2008 financial crisis.
European Council President Charles Michel said “the world has a right to know exactly what happened”.
Last month, President Joe Biden ordered U.S. intelligence officials to “redouble” their efforts to investigate the origins of the coronavirus, including any possibility that the trail could lead to a Chinese lab.