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SYRIZA calls on PM to consider proposal for lifting of vaccine patents

Main opposition SYRIZA has called on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday to “follow the track” proposed by the Council of Europe on Wednesday that lifts patents restrictions for the manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines.

The main opposition party was referring to a clause of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s resolution, which reads:

“the Assembly thus urges member states and the European Union to overcome the barriers and restrictions arising from patents and intellectual property rights, in order to ensure the widespread production and distribution of vaccines in all countries and to all citizens.”

SYRIZA said that party leader Alexis Tsipras had also put forth the idea during parliamentary discussions, and that the prime minister should proceed along the lines of this latest proposal by the Council of Europe.

“The Prime Minister should not wait stoically for pharmaceutical companies to honor their contracts (…), as it would be better for the country to follow suit towards the lifting of vaccine patents”, SYRIZA added.

When Tsipras made the proposals last week ND mocked him saying this was not possible.

On January 19, Socialists in the European Parliament have called on the European Commission to scrutinise vaccine patents in order to facilitate access to vaccines for governments in the ‘Global South’. India and South Africa called on the World Trade Organization (WTO) last December to suspend patents on COVID vaccines.

According to euractiv, there are technically two ways for the EU to enforce this: either with the help of a ‘full waiver’, a special release that would force vaccine manufacturers to relinquish their patent rights – which can only be decided unanimously – or by means of a compulsory licence, which would impose the licence release only for a specific purpose and period of time, without permanently depriving manufacturers of their patent rights.

This latter intervention “can in principle be triggered by the manufacturer’s home country, in this case by the EU,” MEP Bullmann said. Unanimity is not necessary.

Meanwhile, The EU Commission has offices of AstraZeneca raided to check the reasons for delay ion vaccine deliveries and the PM is patiently and passively awaiting for Brussels to take any initiative to save the vaccination party.

Read Also: Europe must fight for its coronavirus vaccines, and share them

The European Union does not have enough vaccine because manufacturers are not fulfilling their contracts. Sharing the patents could speed up production and solve global problems. (more here.)

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