Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda and the leaders of Belgium, Denmark, Spain and Poland have sent an official letter to European Council President Charles Michel, calling for urgent action to expand vaccine production capacity in Europe.
The letter comes on the eve of the European Council session where vaccine production issues will also be discussed, the Lithuanian presidential office said.
Europe is still facing challenges over insufficient vaccine deliveries and their stalling production, the letter reads. “The emergence of new coronavirus variants poses threat to member states' objective to bring the pandemic under control and get back to normal life,” the letter states.
The European Union and member states should take immediate action to expand vaccine production in Europe, the signatories to the letter say. Governments should also provide assistance to Europe-based vaccine producers if they faced production issues and could not meet the set vaccine production plans.
The signatories also called for using all existing production capacities and building new ones. They also called on the European Commission and member states to closely cooperate with potential vaccine producers in Europe, promote public-private partnerships, research and innovation, adding that proper EU-level funding is necessary for that.
The leaders who signed the letter also expressed their expectation that these issues will be discussed with Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during the upcoming European Council meeting.