This week the European Commission unveiled its plan to better monitor any mutations of the coronavirus pandemic, speed up the approval of modified vaccines as well as to strengthen the capacities of laboratories to produce the vital vaccines.
But the bloc has come under fire from MEP Gilles Lebreton, who accused the Commission of not “acting effectively”.
He accused them of “filing empty pages” rather than actually fighting the pandemic.
He tweeted: “We have been saved: the EU unveils an anti-Covid ‘bio-defence’ plan called ‘Hera Incubator’!
“As usual, very good at filing empty pages but not so good at acting effectively!”
MEP Marc Botenga also urged the EU to lift the patent of the vaccine and tweeted: “More production, for Europe and for the world?
“Start by freeing us from the grip of #BigPharma by lifting the patent on the #vaccine. #PublicGood.”
The “Hera Incubator” project aims to curb the spread of new variants of the virus and will bring together institutions, biotechs and research organisations.
According to reports, up to 75 million euros will fund the development of specific tests and help to increase the sequencing of the genome of the virus.
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“We are working tirelessly on it.”
Minister Agnes Pannier-Ruche welcomed the new project and said: “Stronger together to better protect Europeans: I welcome the launch of the #Hera incubator by President Ursula von der Leyen, Stella Kyriakides and Thierry Breton.
“France will play its full part in this for an autonomous Europe in terms of the production of vaccines.”
After being criticised for a slow vaccine rollout, Brussels is aiming to take the lead of vaccinations to guarantee its supplies of jabs aimed at targetting variations of the virus.
The European executive plans to “update” its already signed contracts or “enter into new ones” to support the development of new or modified vaccines.
The EU vaccine scheme was set up in June 2020 and allows the bloc to negotiate the purchase of vaccines on behalf of its member states.
While member states did not have to join the scheme, all 27 EU countries have chosen to do so.
Last month, a row erupted between the UK and the EU over supply problems with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
The EU announced it was introducing export controls on vaccines made in the bloc.
These controls would apply to vaccines moving between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
This sparked outrage as it was overriding parts of the Brexit deal for Northern Ireland.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega