383. Thank you to India for the comments. I just wanted to refer to these comments because we have, I think, answered many of these issues, if not all of the issues, in the discussions that we had on the topic in small groups and also in informal meetings. So I am a little disappointed that we are going back to the same questions. Just to recall the main issues: first of all, this is not a reiteration of provisions of the TRIPS Agreement. It is a very needed clarification responding to the questions that have been raised in the Council for many months. The European Union has tried to make an effort to come with a clarification to actually make sure that the System can be as expeditious as possible.
384. As we have clarified many times, there is no intention to limit in any way the space and the flexibility of Members. To the contrary, it is to give more legal certainty as to what steps can be taken in the context of the pandemic to make sure Members can move fast.
385. I must say that I always find it a little difficult to understand how, on the one hand, Members have mentioned that there are problems with the use of compulsory licensing, and that it is too cumbersome; and then on the other hand, whenever we try to have a discussion of how to address these issues, we are told that we are only repeating or reiterating – that everything is absolutely clear. So it is either one or the other. Either everything is absolutely clear and can be used, or there are some issues that we can work on.
386. What I have not heard in the intervention of the honourable colleague from India is all the other issues that we have discussed. We have moved on. This is not only a discussion about the few elements that we have just heard from India. Luckily, in our discussions in a number of small group meetings and informal meetings, we have noted progress, as we referenced the day before. We have noted progress on other elements and other requirements with relation to compulsory licensing when it comes to, for example, notifications and other procedural requirements. And there were discussions about marking, labelling, remuneration, covering multiple countries in one notification, multiple patents, and so on.
387. I would like to try to sound a little bit more positive than might have come out from the previous intervention. I think that we have moved on. I think that we have a very good basis for a discussion. I think that there are a lot of points of convergence and if the small group discussions have confirmed one point, it is a readiness to look into these requirements and that Members see sense in working on this. I think that should be something that we should concentrate on: a targeted and pragmatic solution to this question.
Resumption of the Council for TRIPS on 18 November 2021