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Von der Leyen says 50% of adult EU population is now vaccinated at least once

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In a blow to those countries, such as the United States, which have introduced restrictions on the export of coronavirus vaccines, von der Leyen told reporters: “All of this was achieved when we never have stopped exports. [of vaccines] of the EU.

She said that of the 700 million doses of coronavirus vaccine produced in Europe since last December, some 350 million doses have been exported to more than 90 countries.

US President Joe Biden has used the decades-old US Defense Production Act (DPA) to put the US government on the front line to buy US-made vaccines and treatments and control the supplies they need .

Von der Leyen, however, called on others to show a similar “openness” and said she “looks forward” to hearing what President Biden will say on the issue when they meet in the Kingdom. – United later Thursday at the G7 summit.

She continued: “It is not only a question of sharing vaccines but also of developing production”, especially in Africa where less than 2% of the population has been vaccinated.

She said the goal should be to end the pandemic by the end of 2022, but that this was only possible by stepping up global vaccination, adding that “the EU has made a massive contribution to it.”

“All of this has been achieved while we have never stopped exports [of vaccines] of the EU ” Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

She was speaking with Council President Charles Michel at a press conference in Brussels before heading to Cornwall for the two-day G7 summit.

The pair also addressed questions about the latest standoff between the EU and the UK over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The UK and the EU are at odds over controls on goods between Britain and Northern Ireland. If no compromise is found, there are fears of potential violence in Northern Ireland.

The EU has said the UK must start screening goods entering Northern Ireland, as agreed in the Brexit ‘divorce’ settlement in 2019. The UK, however, says it is ready to ignore the rules to avoid further disruption – sparking threats of retaliation from the EU.

Von der Leyen insisted: “It is about implementing what has been agreed. We will be flexible, but the protocol must be implemented. “

Von der Leyen told reporters that the EU was “determined to make the Irish protocol work for the benefit of all in Northern Ireland”.

“The EU and the UK agree that the protocol is the only solution to ensure the absence of a driller in the North. We have a treaty on this – the Withdrawal Agreement – which was signed by both parties and it is important that we now implement it. “

“We are still seeing fundamental flaws in the implementation of the protocol and this is something we will be discussing at the Cornwall summit.”

She continued: “We are determined to maintain peace and stability in Northern Ireland, but we must have deep respect for the Protocol. We are deeply convinced that the UK can work towards the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, but if not, it is possible to move forward with corrective measures. “

“This, let’s not forget, happened because of Brexit, but we have to protect the single market and the UK is now a third country.”

Meanwhile, MPs have expressed support for a temporary lifting of intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines and related medical products. This decision was supported by 355 MEPs, 263 of whom voted against.

The resolution, adopted Thursday in plenary session in Strasbourg, also calls for an increase in production and manufacturing capacities in developing countries.

MEPs said they now expected the Council and the Commission to defend their position internationally, support a temporary lifting of intellectual property rights at the World Trade Organization and start negotiations “as soon as possible. as possible “.

Reacting to the vote, Belgian Greens / ALE MEP Sara Matthieu, shadow rapporteur on the resolution, said: “At present, only around 10% of the EU’s global exports are shipped to the least developed countries. world population has been vaccinated, while 70 percent of the European population is expected to be vaccinated within the next month. Most of the doses manufactured in the EU were exported to rich countries.

“As many variants have and will continue to emerge around the world, achieving collective immunity globally is not a matter of charity; this is the only way to fight the pandemic. No one is safe until we are all safe.

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