Tue. Oct 4th, 2022
Brussels, 21 September 2022

“Check against delivery”

Dear Melinda, dear Bill,
Distinguished guests,

Thank you so much.

It is such an honour to receive this Award.

Allow me to dedicate it and to share it with millions of ordinary Europeans, who have helped us all to make it through the pandemic. From the scientists who developed our life-saving vaccines to front-line workers in our hospitals and essential services. This award is also for them.

I have learned three major lessons:

First: Excellence through competition. Some regions dictated what research should be done on vaccines – and failed. We have not picked one innovator, but we allowed for different ones to compete while creating a conducive environment through funding. We harnessed the power of the private sector. It should not surprise us that the open societies developed and produced billions of the life-saving vaccines.

Second: Stay open to the world. The pressure to close borders and to ban vaccine exports was huge. Different from almost all other regions in the world, we resisted the temptation. Instead, we introduced a transparency mechanism. This created trust. Trust among Member States that distribution is fair. Trust among our partners abroad. And trust in equal treatment for the manufacturing companies.

Third: Share technology and know-how with the world. Today, Africa is importing 99% of all necessary vaccines. This is not sustainable. We have started to team up with Africa and Latin America to create over time manufacturing capacity and the necessary ecosystem in the region for the region. From the mRNA technology to the enabling regulatory environment to skills development.

Did all go according to plan? No, there was a global lack of preparedness. You, Bill, predicted it already and warned us in 2015. But we learned our lesson and the global preparedness system is under construction.

Thank you so much again for this award.

Source – EU Commission