- April 2020
- European Union, EU member states in collaboration with the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
- 46 billion euro from the EU, its member states, the European investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Team Europe is a collaboration between EU countries, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to support (mostly low- and middle-income) countries in their fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and facilitate a sustainable recovery. It aims to reach a global vaccination grade of 70% by mid-2022, mainly by donating vaccines and offering financial support, e.g. for increasing manufacturing capacity of medical products.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak, Team Europe has financially supported COVAX with 3 billion euro for the delivery of vaccines in low- and middle-income countries. Additionally, Team Europe has donated vaccines directly to COVAX and is financing the establishment of local production capacity of vaccines, medicines and other health technologies in Africa with 1 billion euro.
- Short-term relief: donation of vaccines through COVAX.
- Long-term potential: supports local production capacity of vaccines, medicines and other key medical products in Africa.
- Actual delivery of vaccines does not come close to reaching its stated targets.
- Does not guarantee that the medical products produced in low- and middle-income countries become firstly available to the local population and for a fair price.
- Does not mention the need of sharing intellectual property and know-how for expanding manufacturing capacity of medical products.
Efforts of Team Europe mostly focus on short-term solutions, i.e. funding of COVAX and donating vaccines through COVAX. Unfortunately, these efforts will not address the current power imbalance between high-income countries and low- and middle-income countries, as the latter have to rely on the goodwill of Team Europe in order to access vaccines and medicines.
Additionally, a report from the People’s Vaccine Alliance shows that the pledged donations by Team Europe are far from the actual amount of vaccines that have been delivered to low- and middle-income countries. According to the report, Team Europe has delivered only 10% of its 2021-2022 targets.
Investment in local production capacity in low- and middle-income countries is very much welcome, but the devil is in the detail. The conditions to public funding for increased production capacity that involve private companies must be transparent and benefit public interests, such as fair pricing and producing for local needs. At this moment it is unclear if this is indeed the case. Furthermore, in order to facilitate increased global manufacturing of medical products, and reduce the dependency of lower-income countries on high-income countries and leading pharmaceutical companies, Team Europe should officially support initiatives that arrange the sharing of intellectual property and know-how needed for production.