We have been working for the best part of the past year to support vaccine producers in developing vaccines; to invest EU money for them to expand production capacity and to ensure the supply of vaccines for the EU and beyond.
Our goal has always been singular: to bring safe and effective vaccines to citizens as soon as possible.
For this reason, we signed advanced purchase agreements and provided pre-financing so that companies build the necessary manufacturing capacity to produce vaccines so deliveries can start as soon they are authorized.
We did not want to waste a single day.
The EU, together with its Member States, has been consistently there to support companies, regulators and distribution.
We mobilised over €2 billion from our Emergency Support Instrument for this purpose.
By investing in science and industry, we did manage to find solutions as challenges appeared and we want to continue to do so.
But, this approach is built on trust, transparency and responsibility.
Commitments need to be kept. And contracts are binding.
Advance Purchase Agreements need to be respected.
Today, we have developed a system that will allow us to know whether vaccines are being exported from the EU.
This increased transparency will also come with the responsibility for the EU to authorise - with our Member States - these vaccine exports.
We do this for three reasons:
Firstly, to ensure we can continue to work on the basis of evidence and complete information.
Secondly, to reinforce our capacity to deliver on the Advance Purchase Agreements so that citizens from the EU and beyond can access vaccines.
And finally, to protect the integrity of our substantial investments from the EU budget. This is an insurance policy.
In this endeavor, our commitment to global responsibility is unwavering.
We will continue to support access to safe and effective vaccines for all, for our neighbors and low and middle income countries through COVAX because this priority continues to be as high as on day one
Humanitarian shipments and COVAX donations will not be affected, nor will it affect our neighbours.
I also want to be clear about the fact that we - Commission, Member States and companies - have done an exceptional effort to develop, secure and distribute vaccines.
This effort will and must continue on all sides. It depends on all parties living to their contractual, social and moral responsibilities.
Today we take a step in ensuring that accountability continues to be one of the key principles of our commitment to citizens.