EU to discuss US vaccine patent plan at Friday summit



Raf Casert | AP

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leaders said Thursday that in the wake of the U.S. backing patent waivers for COVID-19 vaccine technology, the 27-nation bloc immediately will start discussing whether they should join such a move.

The leaders’ first opportunity to mold a common view will come as soon as a two-day summit in Porto, Portugal, that starts Friday.

While many insist that waiving patents would only go part way toward making vaccines available and likely in the midterm only, French President Emmanuel Macron said he “completely” supports opening up intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines as “a global public good.”

At the same time, Macron insisted that the immediate priority for wealthier countries should be first donating more vaccine doses to poorer countries.

EU nations have long insisted they were in the vanguard of helping the rest of the world obtain vaccines, and have looked with a weary eye at how the United States effectively banned such exports itself.

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