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LONDON – French President Emmanuel Macron late Wednesday expressed support for vaccine patents waiver to end the coronavirus pandemic and put France on a collision course with the UK and Germany ahead of the G7 summit in England.
In one tweet After consulting with NGOs, Macron wrote that “France has worked from day one to make solutions to the pandemic a global public good”.
He added: “Dose sharing, opening up intellectual property, funding health systems. It’s up to the G7 to get involved! “
An Elysée official confirmed that “opening up intellectual property” means supporting the waiver of patents on vaccines.
South Africa and India have proposed shutting down intellectual property protection with the World Trade Organization for coronavirus-related products, including vaccines. The EU has consistently opposed the request, arguing that intellectual property is not a barrier to access to vaccines and that existing compulsory licensing provisions should be used in this case.
Of the G7 countries, Germany and Great Britain are also against renouncing the WTO, while Japan and Canada have taken more ambiguous positions, but have not expressly spoken out in favor of renouncing it. The US has announced it will support a vaccine-only waiver, and Italian officials have supported that stance. It’s unclear whether Macron would similarly curtail its support.
Cécile Duflot, Executive Director of Oxfam France and former French Minister, first tweeted that Macron would support the waiver at the G7 meeting in Cornwall, which begins on Friday.
While the EU is against the waiver, Macron has previously expressed mixed views on the issue, saying it is “in favor of opening up intellectual property,” but has also questioned whether intellectual property is the main problem, access to Blocked vaccines.
However, on a recent visit to South Africa, he said at an event at the University of Pretoria that South Africa can “count on France”.
“I’ll be by your side on key issues and the most important battles, and so on [the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights] and IP, ”he said, according to the Mail and Guardian.
Rym Momtaz contributed to the coverage.
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