Ursula von der Leyen 'refused to sign' world leaders' pandemic plea

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen ‘refused to sign’ plea from 20 world leaders for new global treaty on future pandemic preparedness reigniting fears she will return to vaccine export ban threat

  • Group of more than 20 world leaders including Boris Johnson signed joint article
  • Article called for the creation of a new global treaty on pandemic preparedness
  • But President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen did not sign it 

Ursula von der Leyen refused to sign a plea from more than 20 world leaders calling for a new global treaty on pandemic preparedness, it was claimed today.  

Boris Johnson, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron were among the senior figures to put their name to a joint article which urges more collaboration to ensure countries are better able to respond to a future health crisis.  

The document said Covid-19 had been a ‘stark and painful reminder that nobody is safe until everyone is safe’.

It outlines a commitment to ‘ensuring universal and equitable access to safe, efficacious and affordable vaccines, medicines and diagnostics’. 

The absence of the President of the European Commission’s signature from the article is likely to reignite fears that she could return to her threat of banning the export of coronavirus vaccines to the UK.      

Ursula von der Leyen refused to sign up to a plea from more than 20 world leaders calling for a new global treaty on pandemic preparedness, it was claimed today

Boris Johnson, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron were among the senior world figures to put their name to the joint article which urges more collaboration to ensure countries are better able to respond to a future health crisis

J. V. Bainimarama, prime minister of Fiji

Antonio Luis Santos da Costa, prime minister of Portugal

Klaus Iohannis, president of Romania

Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister, 

Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda

Uhuru Kenyatta, president of Kenya

Emmanuel Macron, president of France

Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany

Charles Michel, president of the European Council

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, prime minister of Greece

Moon Jae-in, president of the Republic of Korea

Sebastian Pinera, president of Chile

Carlos Alvarado Quesada, president of Costa Rica

Edi Rama, prime minister of Albania

Cyril Ramaphosa, president of South Africa

Keith Rowley, prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago

Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands

Kais Saied, president of Tunisia

Macky Sall, president of Senegal

Pedro Sanchez, prime minister of Spain

Erna Solberg, prime minister of Norway

Aleksandar Vucic, president of Serbia

Joko Widodo, president of Indonesia 

Volodymyr Zelensky, president of Ukraine

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation

An EU official told The Telegraph: ‘Indeed the Commission was informed of the op-ed and the scope of the Treaty on Pandemics but chose not to co-sign.’ 

The document was signed by Charles Michel, the President of the European Council. 

Responding to the claim, the Commission’s deputy chief spokeswoman said: ‘Let me emphasise that there is strong cooperation going on between the president and the president of the European Council on future pandemic preparedness.’ 

The EU and the UK remain locked in talks over vaccine supply after a furious row erupted over Ms von der Leyen’s export ban threat. 

The two sides appeared to step back from the brink last week after they issued a joint statement saying ‘we are all facing the same pandemic’.

The statement said Brussels and Britain will discuss ‘what more we can do to ensure a reciprocally beneficial relationship between the UK and EU on Covid-19’. 

It said the two sides wanted to create a ‘win-win situation and expand vaccine supply for all our citizens’. 

Ms von der Leyen issued her export ban threat amid growing pressure over the bloc’s botched vaccine rollout and a row over supply between Brussels and AstraZeneca. 

The article signed by Mr Johnson and his fellow world leaders said that after the ‘devastation of two world wars, political leaders came together to forge the multilateral system’.

It called for a similar show of unity to take place in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

It said: ‘Today, we hold the same hope, that as we fight to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic together, we can build a more robust international health architecture that will protect future generations.

‘There will be other pandemics and other major health emergencies. No single government or multilateral agency can address this threat alone. The question is not if, but when.

‘Together, we must be better prepared to predict, prevent, detect, assess and effectively respond to pandemics in a highly co-ordinated fashion.

‘The Covid-19 pandemic has been a stark and painful reminder that nobody is safe until everyone is safe.

‘We are, therefore, committed to ensuring universal and equitable access to safe, efficacious and affordable vaccines, medicines and diagnostics for this and future pandemics.

‘Immunisation is a global public good and we will need to be able to develop, manufacture and deploy vaccines as quickly as possible.’

The article said nations ‘should work together towards a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response’.

Source: Read Full Article