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Talking Europe

EU's von der Leyen tells FRANCE 24 'global cooperation' needed for Covid-19 vaccine

TALKING EUROPE
TALKING EUROPE © FRANCE 24

With the EU executive now fully mobilised by the Covid-19 crisis, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, is convening a donors' conference on May 4 in a bid to raise €7.5 billion. Governments, philanthropists, business leaders and celebrities are all asked to take part in this "online marathon" to find a vaccine and treatments for the novel coronavirus. Von der Leyen discussed this initiative in an interview with FRANCE 24.

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As the European Commission prepares to hold an online donor conference in a bid to raise €7.5 billion to fund research on a coronavirus vaccine and treatments for Covid-19, its President Ursula von der Leyen discussed her initiative. "We know we can only defeat the virus with a vaccine," she told FRANCE 24 in an interview from Brussels. "We need global cooperation, and the pledging conference is on filling the funding gap."

Governments, philanthropists, business leaders and celebrities are all asked to take part in this pledging conference. Von der Leyen is expecting the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to play an important role in raising funds. She also underlined the necessity of the vaccine, once found, being "deployed to vulnerable countries", so that "everybody in this world" has access to it regardless of resources.

‘Learn our lessons’

Asked about criticism of the EU executive, which was slow to react to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Commission president sidestepped the question, saying, "We all have to learn our lessons from the crisis." Von der Leyen admitted that "on the European level (…) we have to improve the robust data reporting", but also be "able to buy and stockpile the essential medical goods, like, for example, personal protective equipment like masks and gloves or ventilators".

"I think over time, after the crisis, we really have to go in depth: what other lessons we've learned, what do we have to change?" she concluded.

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