This is another step forward in tackling the pandemic. Renew Europe has strongly defended the reinforcement of the EMA’s role in this, which is vital to combine trust in the science, speed in application and solidarity across all EU member states.
President of Renew Europe, Dacian Ciolos, said: The approval of a second vaccine is good news and I count on the EMA to clearly explain its decisions and timetable for the next vaccines. I will ask for a debate in the European Parliament on the vaccination process. It is very important that citizens have clarity not only on the efficiency and deployment of the vaccine but also on the approval process, on when they can realistically expected to get it and in what conditions. Transparency and sound, factual communications are the best medicine, not only against conspiracy theories, but also to build trust in the EU institutions. The EU needs to be more effective in countering disinformation and distrust. This needs close cooperation between the Commission, the EMA and national governments. The current amount of conflicting stories and fake news about the vaccines is shocking and needs a better answer.
Pascal Canfin (Liste Renaissance, FR), chair of the ENVI committee, explains: Solidarity within the EU is key to overcoming the pandemic. The common process was the best choice to face this crisis, and I hope we will soon get new approvals from the EMA. Nevertheless, in order to fight against distrust and avoid any doubts from European citizens, I asked the Commission to improve the transparency of the decisions taken. Indeed, we have asked this several times already. This is the best way to close the door on fake news and make sure that the vaccine campaign will be a success.
Véronique Trillet-Lenoir (Liste Renaissance, FR), concludes: From the common negotiations with the pharmaceutical industries to the delivery of vaccines to all Member States at the exact same price on the same day, the EU has shown its ability to choose unity and solidarity over any kind of national or regional egoism. This health crisis and the ongoing vaccination process should not be used for political or electoral purposes. Our main goal should remain to protect every single European against this virus. To do so, it is important to follow the European’s recommendations on the priority groups of COVID-19 vaccination. The diversification of the vaccine portfolio is the best way to ensure the availability, the accessibility and the affordability of a vaccine. This balanced approach will allow us to prevent tensions or shortages on the vaccines during this crucial year. This vaccine strategy is a European success! The first step toward a real European Union of Health. This “premiere” should lead the way towards a stronger European Medicines Market. We need more regular cooperation between Member States and pharmaceutical companies to ensure a fair and transparent price of vaccines and medicines.
The EU’s strategy of negotiating purchases as one bloc, having a balanced portfolio and not cutting corners on the scientific approval process is undoubtedly the right one, but Renew Europe calls for enhanced transparency from the EMA and the European Commission on the way forward. Renew Europe calls on the EMA and the European Commission to provide a clear explanation of current approval processes, purchases and a timetable of next steps; we will request that this item is added to the agenda of the January Plenary.