On Wednesday, the Biden administration took the extraordinary step of announcing its support for waiving IP protections on COVID vaccines. But the European Union poured cold water on the proposal on Saturday after a meeting between European leaders. French President Emmanuel Macron said waiving patents should be way down the list of priorities for the U.S., after ending bans on vaccine exports and donating surplus doses. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo was more blunt: “As Europeans, we don’t need to be schooled. The U.S. hasn’t exported a single vaccine in the past six months. Europe is the one that’s been producing for itself and the rest of the world these past six months.”
European Council President Charles Michel said the U.S. hadn’t put any specific plan forward. “We don’t think in the short term that it’s the magic bullet but we are ready to engage on this topic as soon as a concrete proposal will be put on the table,” he said. A plan to waive patents can’t get the green light without EU approval.