Health is always a priority, not just in relation to COVID-19
While addressing the Informal General Affairs Council meeting, Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi reiterated Malta’s views on the need for a genuine Single Market for pharmaceuticals. It is important to learn from the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure equal access to pharmaceuticals in all the European Member States. Parliamentary Secretary Zrinzo Azzopardi remarked that the “situation should ideally be that once a medicinal product is placed on the market, it should be available to all Member States.” The Parliamentary Secretary called on the European Commission to propose solutions in the short, medium, and long-term.
Parliamentary Secretary Zrinzo Azzopardi stressed the importance of accelerating the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and of ensuring that delivery schedules are adhered to by the pharmaceutical companies. He opined that more studies are required, complementing the efforts the EU as a whole is undertaking, to analyse the efficacy of vaccines against new variants and the transmissibility of the virus from vaccinated persons.
He also referred to the Southern Neighbourhood as this forms part of the agenda to be discussed by EU leaders. The Communications on the Southern Neighbourhood is a step forward but keeping track of its implementation and operationalisation remains key. He added that Malta believes that Libya merits more attention in the investment plan. While Malta understands the challenges ahead, it still believes that this is a missed opportunity, nonetheless.
The agenda of the Informal General Affairs was mainly taken up with the finalisation of the preparations for the Informal European Council meeting that will be held in virtual format later on this week. Together with the aforementioned themes, the European Democracy Action Plan and the Conference on the Future of Europe and EU-UK relations were also discussed.