European Union
European Union

The leaders of six countries in the European Union called for building a stock of medicines and vital equipment in the European Union and other measures to enhance the flexibility of the bloc in the long term in the face of public health crises.

The European Union, consisting of 27 countries and Britain, recorded about 1.4 million cases of emerging coronavirus, or about one fifth of the global total. At the height of the crisis, many countries in the European Union resorted to protective measures, to put trade barriers that prevent the export of medical equipment to their neighbors.

In a joint paper sent to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday, the leaders of Denmark, Spain, Germany, France, Belgium and Poland supported proposals on joint research, vaccine development and treatment.

In the document, they said, developing a "more comprehensive European strategy could be more effective than each member state trying to boost preparedness on its own."

The proposals included the creation of a stock of vital medicines, supplies and equipment for three months throughout the European Union in addition to cooperation between countries and companies to produce key products in times of crisis.

Reuters had previously reported that European Union member states had significantly underestimated their ability to respond to the Corona virus and had told Brussels in February that there was no need to request more medical supplies.

The paper emphasized the need to enhance Europe's ability to research and develop vaccines, by funding large-scale clinical trials and creating a "prepared platform" that would reduce risks for companies in developing vaccines by ensuring public appetite for purchase.

The paper, which also called for joint monitoring and analysis of different screening strategies, said that research results could be published on a European platform dedicated to Covid-19 disease.