Mon. Feb 6th, 2023

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered a speech today at the “Conference on strengthening the role of the EU in Global Health” organised by the Portuguese presidency of the Council. The speech was an occasion for the President to highlight that fighting the pandemic must be a global effort.

She said that “we can only contain the virus by joining forces with our friends in other countries and continents. Instead of competing with others, Europe has chosen to build a global alliance. Almost one year ago, we joined forces with the WHO, with other governments and with charitable foundations. Together we created the ACT-Accelerator, the global initiative to help all countries get access to tests, treatments and vaccines.”

President von der Leyen also made reference to the need for the world to improve its readiness for such challenges: “We must step up the world’s capacity to produce vaccines, as well as our collective preparedness against health crises. The world was not prepared for a global pandemic of this unprecedented scale. But we have acted. Last year, we went from hearing for the first time about COVID-19, to fast-tracking R&D. We expanded our testing capacity exponentially, and managed to bring several vaccines to the market. We did this in record time.” 

Finally, in that sense, she underlined the importance of the upcoming Global Health Summit: “We must now move from the ad-hoc solutions of this year, towards a sustainable system. This will help us manage and prevent health crises in the future. This is exactly the goal of the Global Health Summit, that I will co-host with Italy on 21 May. At this Summit, we will agree on principles that can guide our future responses.”

The President’s speech is available here and it can be rewatched here.

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