Charles Michel proposes ‘international pandemic treaty’

European Council President Charles Michel on Thursday proposed an “international pandemic treaty” to prevent future global disease outbreaks and better coordinate a worldwide response.

Speaking at the Paris Peace Forum, where he met on the sidelines with French President Emmanuel Macron and other senior leaders, Michel said that a new global treaty would demonstrate that leaders had learned lessons from the current coronavirus pandemic. He did not offer specific details, so it was not clear how such a treaty would fit with existing global cooperation on public health, for example, through the World Health Organization.

“Just now I came out with the idea that I will repeat here that perhaps we need to go further and learn from this pandemic that’s striking us. We need perhaps an international pandemic treaty to have a stronger international commitment to prevent them,” Michel said. “We feel it’s necessary, and so that if they emerge we can respond more quickly and in a more coordinated manner to make sure there is the medical equipment where it’s needed and exchange information so that we can make sure that we protect our citizens better.”

The sideline meeting coordinated by Macron also included the President of Senegal Macky Sall, and Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen participated via videoconference.

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