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Italy was right about COVID intervention - von der Leyen

Health renaissance begins at Rome summit says EC chief

(ANSA) - ROME, MAY 6 - European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Thursday that Italy was right to call for the European Union to take action in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in her speech at the State of the Union conference of the European University Institute.
    "I remember the call for Europe coming from Italy," von der Leyen said.
    "The people of Italy demanded that Europe steps in.
    "They demanded European solidarity and coordination. And they were right.
    "Italy was right. Europe had to step in. And that is what we did".
    She added that the G20 Global Health summit that will take place in Rome on May 21 will be crucial for the future.
    "I want us to be ahead of the curve," she said.
    "And the whole world needs to be ahead of the curve, too. This is also why I have proposed holding a G20 Global Health Summit.
    "I will co-host it with Prime Minister Draghi in Rome later this month.
    "Because we must now move from the ad-hoc solutions of this year, towards a sustainable system. A system, that works for the whole world. Because viruses know no borders.
    "In Rome, we want to discuss international cooperation in health emergencies, including NGOs, foundations and civil society.
    "These are new alliances for better solutions. Yes, preparedness comes at a cost. But the cost of preparedness is tiny compared to the cost of inaction.
    "The world needs a new beginning on health policy. And our health renaissance begins in Rome".
    She added that the EU is willing to discuss suspending patents to help COVID vaccinations move faster worldwide.
    "The EU is also ready to discuss any proposals that address the crisis in an effective and pragmatic manner," she said.
    "That is why we are ready to discuss how the U.S. proposal for a waiver on intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines could help achieve that objective.
    "In the short run, however, we call upon all vaccine producing countries to allow export and to avoid measures that disrupt the supply chains". (ANSA).


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