Press statement by President von der Leyen on the next steps in the Coronavirus Global Response - EU monitor

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Tuesday, August 11, 2020
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Press statement by President von der Leyen on the next steps in the Coronavirus Global Response

Source: European Commission (EC) i, published on Thursday, May 28 2020.

A very warm welcome to all of you!

Six months after the outbreak of the pandemic, the coronavirus is still spreading around the globe. It is threatening people's lives and livelihoods. And we all know that we can only defeat it when the world has a vaccine. This must be our main focus. We have to develop a vaccine and distribute it to every corner of the world as quickly as possible. And we need better treatments that are affordable for everyone, and reliable tests. We need all this especially in those regions of the world that cannot rely on strong healthcare systems.

To make all this happen, we need three things:

  • First, to move fast;
  • Second, to act together. No country will be safe if the others are not;
  • And finally, we need money, - in the order of tens of billions of dollars.

Investing billions today, will save us trillions in the future. The world needs to unite, so that the virus can be defeated once and for all. The good news is - this is already happening.

One month ago, a worldwide coalition came together to shape the Coronavirus Global Response to the pandemic. We all rallied around the World Health Organization, when it called for a global mobilisation. On 4 May, the European Commission launched an international donors' conference, with a large number of countries as co-hosts. More than 40 countries came together. This gives us hope.

More and more countries realise that we are all together in this, and that no one is safe until we are all safe. But that was only the beginning of our marathon. The next milestone is just around the corner. On 4 June, we need to ensure that GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, has the funding it needs to continue doing its work in the poorest countries.

And today, with this event, we are moving to the next phase of our mobilisation. We need further commitment from all partners and more resources. We need to fast track research and development of a vaccine. This normally takes up to ten years. But we do not have that much time. And we need a vaccine for all who need it - not just for those people and countries that can afford it.

This is why I am very grateful for the engagement of so many influencers, activists, private corporations, philanthropists and civil society organisations. You have contributed to putting a spotlight on this campaign. And just like you, thousands of people have shown that they care - with a small donation, or sometimes just a social media post. But it makes a difference.

And It is for all these people that today we are launching a new campaign called ‘Global Goal: Unite for our Future'. The idea for this campaign comes from Global Citizen, and I am so honoured to give my patronage to the initiative. In the next month, until 27 June, more people will make their voices heard - calling on everyone to contribute to our common fight against coronavirus.

On 27 June, I will host a final pledging summit - where businesses, foundations and citizens will have the opportunity to join forces with public donors. 15 governments have already confirmed their support in this second part of our pledging marathon. Let me thank Austria, Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Spain, and the United Kingdom. You will find videos and quotes from our supporters on the website of the European Commission.

And we count on many more to join in the next four weeks. The money that we will raise will finance testing programmes, treatments and vaccines for countries everywhere in the world and for everyone who needs them. This is the only way to overcome this pandemic - and to avoid another. On 27 June, with ‘Unite for our Future', everyone can contribute to life-saving medical innovation to make coronavirus history, and to make history in uniting the world.

Let me leave the floor now to Hugh Evans, the CEO of Global Citizen. Hugh will tell you more about ‘Unite for our Future'. The Global Citizen community has made the headlines all across the world just a few weeks ago. The event you organised with many, many artists - ‘One World Together: At Home' - has raised USD 127 million in donations. Hugh, you are showing that every one of us can help change the world.

Dear Hugh, you have the floor.

[following the interventions of participants]

In these four weeks, we will need all of your support to mobilise as much funding as possible. Every euro, every dollar can change the life of a woman, a man or a child who need a vaccine, a test or an effective treatment.

So thanks to all of you who have chosen to contribute. And I promise that the European Commission will continue to do everything we can, so that we can put an end to this pandemic.

Thank you and see you on 27 June!