Time is ripe for enhanced multilateral EU-Africa cooperation
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Time is ripe for enhanced multilateral EU-Africa cooperation

Thursday, 15 April 2021
This is an opinion article by an external contributor. The views belong to the writer.
So far, only 184 million people, or 2.4% of the worldwide population have been fully vaccinated.

The covid19 pandemic has revealed the strengths and weaknesses of an interdependent world. One of the most apparent weaknesses is that regarding the access to vaccines, every nation is for itself.

Every country would like its own population to be granted access to the vaccine at all costs and as soon as possible. However, this is where the first deadlock appears: the insufficient production capacity when it comes to vaccines. The result hereof could not be more disappointing in the field of humanitarian protection. The current approach does not lead us anywhere, as every human being must be vaccinated rather than one or the other nation who managed to obtain a supply contract because of secret negotiations with pharmaceutical companies.

This problem is to be addressed from an ambitious perspective, which allows tackling the situation within the appropriate frame of reference. The danger of the virus remains equal for each and everyone, regardless of our geographical position. The virus will stop at nothing if we do not manage to threaten it in its very existence.

This being said, it is important to reach a consensus allowing us to protect us globally and to defeat the new emergent covid19 variants. For our globalised world, with its 195 countries fussing around in an uncoordinated manner, the response can only be of a multilateral nature.

2021 started on a very good note: the United States will not continue to play the role of the troublemaker. After eliminating this major obstacle, there are no more apparent reasons for us to not commit to politics with rules respected by all. It will get easier to define a common and fatal strategy to fight the virus. Regarding their implementation, these rules should allow for securing a sufficient production of vaccines and for the equal access of all human beings to the vaccine.

Excluding developing countries from this political approach, with which we share a common destiny in the field of public health, would be irresponsible. Meanwhile, as science regains its public esteem, leaders such as Joe Biden, Charles Michel, Ursula von der Leyen, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Justin Trudeau and Narendra Modi must pave the way for a new common approach. Finding a solution to the covid19 problem within a multilateral framework implies that everybody accepts rules that are stronger than oneself.

In addition, cooperation in every main area should be maintained, despite the existence of ideological, political or diplomatic differences. While handling the issues of climate, health, security or humanitarian crises, all countries must help find a solution.

Keeping the essential in mind, meaning the fight against existential threats, everything invites us to rediscover the virtues of multilateralism. Future generations deserve better than the business as usual scenario.

 

MEP Charles Goerens (Renew Europe). Charles Georens is the Renew Europe coordinator in the Committee on Development. He is also the vice-president of the Committee on the Constitutional Affairs.

MEP Soraya Rodriguez (Renew Europe). Soraya Rodriguez is in the European Parliament since 2019. She is member of the Committee on Women’s rights and Gender equality and the Committee on the Environment, Public health and Food safety.

MEP Barry Andrews (Renew Europe). Barry Andrews is full member of the Committee on International Trade and is a member of the Delegation for relations with South Africa. Barry is also a substitute member of the Committee on Development.