Portuguese PM warns of risks
On the mainland Público reports on the EU efforts to increase vaccination capacity. European countries want to “increase the production capacity” of vaccines and “enforce contracts” with pharmaceutical companies. The Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, accepts the possibility of cancelling exports but warned that there were risks for Europe if this happens.
This Thursday, the prime minister explained, in a press conference, the main topics addressed in the virtual meeting between the leaders of the 27 member states.
“There were fundamentally two moments that marked this European Council. The first, of course, was the debate on the situation with COVID-19, which continues to be very worrying especially in some countries that are now beginning to suffer the impact of the third wave. On the other hand, the effort required to speed up the vaccination process at European level”, began by saying António Costa.
Costa call for European effort
In order to achieve greater production of vaccines and ensure that contracts are fulfilled, the Prime Minister says that a European-scale effort will be organized, “ using all instruments, including the export ban – if necessary – but safeguarding the supply chains, which are essential to ensure the operation of the industry, both in Europe and abroad”, continued António Costa.
Costa says, however, that blocking the export of vaccines will be the last resort, recalling that the production of these drugs requires components that arrive from countries outside the continent. “There is at least one vaccine that has more than 80 components, many of which come from outside Europe. If we refuse to export, we risk not being provided with some of these components. ”
This Friday, Portugal will be visited by the European Internal Market Commissioner, Thierry Breton, who is responsible for planning this European effort to increase the production and vaccination capacity in the European Union.
The prime minister says that Europe is the “bloc that has most exported” vaccines, asking for “reciprocity” from the other economic blocs. At the moment, production capacities are being mapped in the 27 Member States: “What the Commission is doing is articulating different capacities, so that we can respond to the need to increase production. There are phases [in the production of the vaccine] that Portugal does not have the capacity to produce, but there are others – whether of components or filling – that we have.