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As leaders prepare for crucial Summit with Africa, ONE urges action to deliver on EU promise of solidarity

5 questions EU leaders must answer ahead of major Africa Summit

Brussels – Ahead European Council on 16-17 December where EU leaders will discuss the spread of new COVID19 variant Omicron and the preparations for a crucial Summit with African partners, anti-poverty group The ONE Campaign is highlighting the need for faster, transparent vaccine deliveries, new investments in global access to COVID19 tools, and a temporary TRIPS waiver to beat the virus once and for all.

EU leaders should respond to these 5 questions:

  • Ahead of the meeting with African leaders in February, what new steps will Team Europe take to show it is a serious and credible partner in beating the virus globally?
  • The AU Commission Chairperson recently called a temporary TRIPS waiver, backed by all African governments, “vital for our common survival”. Why is the EU continuing to block an agreement at the WTO? Is this position aligned with President von der Leyen’s call for COVID19 vaccines and treatments to be global public goods?
  • From today, 68 countries (44 of them in Africa) are not on track to give the first dose to 40% of their population by the end of 2021.What additional steps is the EU taking to ensure the 250 million doses Team Europe promised to low and middle-income countries this year are delivered on time? 
  • Last week we saw 1million doses were rushed from Europe to Nigeria with a short expiry date, preventing them from being used. When will Team Europe increase the transparency of their dose-sharing commitments by publishing monthly, detailed calendars of vaccine deliveries, as France did recently, in order to aid planning and delivery of the shots in partner countries?
  • The EU recently agreed plans to purchase an additional 200m vaccines to donate via COVAX. However, COVAX and the wider ACT-Accelerator also have a significant funding gap. Will Team Europe commit to ensuring these mechanisms are fully financed as soon as possible, in order to enable them to deliver against their strategies and increase access to COVID19 vaccines, tools and treatments, in line with the bloc’s target of vaccinating 70% of people in all countries by mid-2022.

Emily Wigens, EU Director at The ONE Campaign, said: “Omicron should be a wake up call to EU leaders. We need a stepchange in the urgency and scale of the EU response in order to recognise and tackle this global crisis, otherwise Europeans will continue to be at risk.

We need to have a global plan to control the virus, or we face living in a COVID world for the foreseeable future. If current trends continue Nigeria won’t vaccinate 70% of the population until 2044, Tanzania won’t reach the target until 2104, and Burundi until 3214. EU leaders need to take urgent steps to keep their existing promises, ensure faster and more transparent vaccine deliveries and agree to a temporary TRIPS waiver.”