The goal isn’t to spend the most money, says Commission vice president.
“It’s way too soon to consider” a second coronavirus pandemic recovery plan, Executive Vice President of the European Commission Margrethe Vestager told French daily Les Echos in an interview published Monday.
“I find it strange to discuss a new plan we’re not sure we need, when we already have so much to do,” Vestager said, when asked whether U.S. President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan, announced in March, could push the EU to bulk up its €750 billion pandemic recovery effort. “The goal, by the way, is not to spend the biggest amount of money, but to yield the best results,” she added.
Asked why the EU is reluctant to get on board with Biden’s proposal for waiving patent rights for COVID-19 vaccines, Vestager said: “Patents are not the problem. The difficulty is in increasing production capacity to speed up vaccination, and for people to register to be inoculated.” She added that it’s “simpler to negotiate with a handful of players who own patent rights rather than letting them be accessible for everyone, with no one feeling really responsible for production levels.”
“I won’t go into American motivations. I’ll just note that they’re not exporting any vaccine,” Vestager said.
On the EU’s handling of the pandemic, Vestager said the bloc “could have avoided many pitfalls if the deals we signed with pharmaceutical firms were more transparent.”
The Commission vice president also addressed resistance among some EU countries against Biden’s 21 percent global minimum tax proposal. Asked whether the EU’s unanimity requirement for tax rules was a problem, Vestager acknowledged that “decisions on taxation are still too slow in Europe. But a lot has been done in recent years, despite the unanimity rule. What matters is the momentum that creates the change … Now that the United States is more ambitious, we’re able to move forward and find an agreement by this summer.”
Vestager also discussed the Commission’s proposal to tackle unfair competition from companies receiving state aide from countries like China. “Of the 10 to 15 takeovers that have taken place recently, some would have fallen within the scope of this regulation,” Vestager said. On when she expects the proposal to enter into law, Vestager said: “The draft is ready, it just needs to be adopted. The ball is in the European Parliament’s court.”Want more analysis from POLITICO? POLITICO Pro is our premium intelligence service for professionals. From financial services to trade, technology, cybersecurity and more, Pro delivers real time intelligence, deep insight and breaking scoops you need to keep one step ahead. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a complimentary trial.
Source: POLITICO https://www.politico.eu/article/second-coronavirus-recovery-plan-margrethe-vestager-too-soon/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication