European Parliament hesitates on vaccines

For the last three months the European Parliament has had a ‘written declaration‘ open for signature calling on the European Union to give more support to vaccines in developing countries.

This written declaration is promoted by five Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) including some from Belgium (Véronique De Keyser) France (Marie-Christine Vergiat), Ireland (Seán Kelly) and two from the UK (Mary Honeyball and Bill Newton Dunn).

Time is up

A written declaration falls after three months if it doesn’t get the required 378 MEP signatures denoting a majority of European Parliamentary support.

Unfortunately at the end of this period on 10 May 2012, the declaration only had 301 MEP signatures.

Extension gives reprieve

However, the 301 signatures have provided enough support to grant the declaration a reprieve.

It’s normal for declarations supported by 300 parliamentarians to have more time in which to gain the necessary additional 78 signatures.

The extension has been granted until the end of the next session of the entire parliament on 24 May.

Reducing vaccine-preventable deaths

A written declaration is itself not a strong instrument – in fact it has to avoid containing anything substantial that would be better dealt with by the parliament in other more meaningful ways.

But if it passes it would signal to the European Commission the need for continued commitments from them to reduce the number of vaccine-preventable deaths.

Conversely if the European Parliament does not pass this reasonably bland assertion, there will be those who will argue that the European Parliament as a whole believes that the EU should expend less effort and resources on saving lives with vaccines in developing countries.

Another 77 signatures needed

It is crucial that a further 77 MEPs support this declaration in the next month. And even more important that the European Commission act upon it should they do so.

If you want to know which MEPs are yet to sign the declaration, MEPs NOT Signed 11 May.

 

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