Monday

14th Jun 2021

Pressure builds on EU to back WTO vaccine-patent waiver

MEPs have backed a motion demanding the temporality lifting of intellectual properties rights of Covid-19 vaccines - a symbolic move that puts pressure on the European Commission to change its position on the issue of global access to vaccines.

News in Brief

  1. EU top court fast-tracks rule-of-law case to October
  2. Hungary's Fidesz wants to ban LGBTIQ content for under-18s
  3. MEPs join EU citizens on farm-animal cage ban
  4. Council of Europe urges Russia to release Navalny 'immediately'
  5. China's anti-sanctions law alarms EU businesses
  6. Airlines seek to water down EU passengers' rights
  7. EU leaders join call for further probe into Covid origins
  8. Liberal MEPs under fire over Babiš abstention

Commission to approve first Covid-recovery plans next week

This means that, following council approval, and after the financing agreement has been signed with EU governments, the first countries can receive pre-financing from the recovery fund, of up to 13 percent of their allocated funds.

Opinion

If EU blocks vaccine waivers, it can drop 'solidarity' talk

Workers such as United Nurses Association of India are furious that the EU is undermining their best efforts and exacerbating the crisis by continuing to put big-pharma profits ahead of Covid vaccine patent-waivers. Is this what solidarity looks like?

Analysis

The EU's Covid-19 certificate - how it will work?

As some member states start issuing the EU's Covid-19 certificate, EUobserver takes a look at what the bloc is doing to restore unrestricted travel in the bloc - a right that has been restricted, even prohibited, during the pandemic.

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EU counters Biden's vaccine patent-waiver with WTO plan

The EU has submitted to the World Trade Organization a plan aimed at expanding the production of Covid-19 vaccines - seen by Brussels as a quicker and more targeted solution than the intellectual property right-waiver proposal backed by the US.

More trust in EU than national governments amid pandemic

Europeans' support in their national governments has plummeted since the pandemic began, while the image of the EU and trust in the 27-nations bloc remains strong and steadily increasing, according to two new surveys.

Opinion

Covid-19 pandemic - why was the ECDC so ineffective?

The Covid-19 crisis has revealed that the current European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has neither the funding, the staff or – perhaps most importantly – the authority to lead an effective response to a pandemic in Europe.

Brussels pushes to fix EU travel rules ahead of summer

The European Commission has updated the common approach to travel measures in the EU, urging member states to gradually lift restrictions - in a bid to end a current patchwork of rules across the bloc.

Belgium outlines summer Covid relaxation plans

Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo announced that from 9 June restaurants, cinemas, theatres and fitness centres will be able to open their doors again. Indoor and outdoor events will steadily be able to host more people.

First recovery euros could be paid out in July

Economy commissioner Paolo Gentoloni said the real challenge is whether member states can stick to their national plans and timelines. However, more than a dozen EU countries still need to ratify legislation to start the funding.

EU now 'open' to vaccine waiver, after Biden U-turn

The European Union is now ready to discuss the proposal to waive temporarily intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines - following the historic decision by Washington in favour of easing patent rules.

Conservatives' Covid-strategy wins in lockdown-fatigue Madrid

Madrid conservative leader Isabel Diaz Ayuso has become a political phenomenon mainly because of her success in keeping Madrid open during the worst moments of the pandemic. However, critics accuse her of neglecting health services - while only protecting businesses.

First EU aid sent to India as Covid-19 crisis worsens

A group of six member states have sent India a shipment of oxygen, medicines, and critical equipment, as the country fights a devastating surge in Covid-19 cases, spurred by the new "double mutant" spreading across the country.

Column

The EU needs a global vaccination strategy - right now

The further the vaccination campaign progresses, the more people will ask: what about the rest of the world? The EU should answer the question loud and clear now before it is drowned out by a rising chorus of criticism.

Opinion

Legal worries on EU's 'green certificates' for Covid travel

With the prospect of rolling non-lethal pandemics, and border-checks based primarily on vaccination status, the assertion in the EU's 'green certificate' memorandum that the proposal "cannot be interpreted as establishing an obligation or right to be vaccinated" seems disingenuous.

EU takes AstraZeneca to court for 'breaching contract'

The European Union has launched legal action against the pharmaceutical multinational AstraZeneca for failing to meet its contractual obligations for the supply of Covid-19 vaccines, and for lacking a "reliable strategy" to ensure timely deliveries.

Orbán and von der Leyen to tussle on EU recovery funds

Viktor Orbán has one key card in his hands: Hungary has still not approved the legislation necessary for the EU Commission to raise money on the markets. However, it will be difficult to hold out on this.

EU mulls legal action against AstraZeneca over shortfalls

The European Commission said on Thursday it has not yet decided whether to take legal action against AstraZeneca for failing to meet its contractual obligations - but repeated that all options are still on the table.