Emmanuel Macron had until now “systematically opposed to this lifting of patents at the World Trade Organization”, notes Manon Aubry, MEP La France insoumise, on News i on Friday 7 May, who accuses him of having defended “the interests of pharmaceutical companies “. The head of state finally declared himself on Thursday “strongly in favor of the lifting of intellectual property” on the eve of Porto European summit where the topic will be discussed. This measure was proposed Wednesday by US President Joe Biden.
The French president followed Thursday in Joe Biden’s footsteps by declaring that he is in favor of this patent lifting of anti-Covid vaccines. Is that what you have been asking for for a while on the left?
Manon Aubry: Indeed, for more than a year we have been fighting to obtain this lifting of patents and mass production of production capacities at the international level, to take the monopoly of production from the hands of pharmaceutical laboratories, to ensure that it does not there are no profits from the pandemic. But in this matter, I note that Macron has very different speeches from the acts, since he systematically opposed this lifting of patents at the World Trade Organization. The Republic on the move, voted against in the National Assembly and the European Parliament. And then, the elected En Marche toured the sets [de télévision] to explain to us that it was unnecessary. The reality is that until now, they have defended the interests of pharmaceutical companies to ensure that their profits are guaranteed on this pandemic.
Opponents of the lifting of patents on anti-Covid vaccines explained that even if we transferred intellectual property to other countries, for example, there would not be the means of production behind. So was it pretty pointless?
Except that all production capacities at the international level are not exploited. We have wasted months and months during which the European Union, together with France, blocked the lifting of patents at the World Trade Organization. These are so many lives that we could have saved when, in particular, countries desperately await these vaccines. We see the drama that is being played out in India and even in France. We can see how long it took before taking a turn that allows all those who want to be gradually vaccinated. And I think it is a fault for which Emmanuel Macron will pay or will have to pay consequences for a long time.
The other central element of this European summit is the desire to inject more social measures in Europe after the severe damage of the health crisis. Do you see this desire for a social shift?
It is obvious that the question is major, with a very hard social crisis in Europe, which particularly affects those who were already precarious. I think of the younger generations that are being sacrificed. I am thinking of all those who had precarious jobs and who lost them, unemployment and poverty which are increasing all over Europe. That being said, I’ll be honest with you, I’m 31 and I think I’ve been hearing about Social Europe since I was a little kid, even long before I was born, and I think that’s a shape of old sea serpent in Europe. And here too, speeches are not enough. This kind of great European summits, which often give birth to a mouse, are not up to the social emergency. We have been putting concrete proposals on the table for months, starting with declaring a social emergency, as we have declared the climate emergency, that the political parties of the right, but also part of the left, oppose it. We have been asked for months to have a statute for uberized workers and to have a European minimum wage.
What should this harmonization at European level in favor of employment go through?
By a European minimum wage equal to 75% of the median wage. This is the proposal that we are putting on the table today because in reality social Europe is social dumping, it is relocation. Unfortunately, the news is full of them: large industrialists who prefer to go to Hungary, Poland, where sometimes, wages are up to five to six times lower than in France. This competition is unbearable at the very heart of the European Union.
“We need a gradual harmonization process from above that allows everyone to live with dignity everywhere in the European Union.”Manon Aubry, MEP La France rebellise
to News i
But here too, there must be a very clear threshold set in European law.
All of this needs to be funded. We are starting to talk about a second stimulus plan for the economy in France. What do you think ?
I think it is necessary. The first stimulus plan that was made in France as in Europe, we are barely 1.2% of GDP. This is nothing compared to the losses that are suffered, especially for smaller companies. We need a recovery plan that goes directly to the most disadvantaged households. We need a recovery plan that is ecological.
“We need a recovery plan that does not require counterparts, as is currently the case with the European recovery plan. The other side of the coin is still massive.”Manon Aubry
to News i
It is the reform of unemployment insurance and more than 2 billion savings on the unemployed, it is the pension reform that nobody wants in France. Stimulus plans at a time when we want to make a social Europe, it is a total hypocrisy. And then, we also need the means to finance it with a tax on financial transactions and a tax on those who took advantage of the crisis to enrich themselves, Amazon, for example, which tripled its profit. These are also concrete proposals that we are putting on the table.