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India-EU Summit: No Agreement on Patents Waiver to Fight Covid

  • India and European Union Flags, May 8, 2021.

    India and European Union Flags, May 8, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @NayanimaBasu

Published 8 May 2021

In spite of statements on the contrary, EU leaders prefer to sell vaccines rather than facilitate domestic production.

India and the European Union (EU) on Saturday announced the resumption of negotiations on three balanced and comprehensive trade-related agreements but were unable to reach common ground on calls for a waiver of patent protections for Covid-19 vaccines.


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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a summit virtual meeting with the EU 27 leaders, who show more interest in resumption of trade talks than in facilitating vaccine production in the South Asian country.

Over 60 countries have supported initiatives at the World Trade Organization to release patents on vaccines and ingredients, so that mass production is allowed in pandemic-stricken countries such as India.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel expressed solidarity and support for India to counter a devastating second wave of Coronavirus infections, which has seen daily cases crossing the 400,000-mark in recent days, but made it clear the EU didn’t think a waiver of patents will produce significant and immediate results.

They instead called on countries currently manufacturing doses to ramp up production and delivery.

 “These are important topics to discuss but we should be aware of the fact that these are topics for the long term,” Von der Leyen said from Oporto, Portugal.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron strongly supported a waiver on vaccines and ingredients, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel sided with the big pharmaceutical corporations to oppose it.

In a sudden u-turn, United States president Joe Biden said his country would stop blocking the waiver proposal at the WTO. On his part, Russian president Vladimir Putin declared his government’s support, provided other countries do the same.

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