Polish president urges EU's self-sufficiency in Covid-19 drugs

Polish president urges EU's self-sufficiency in Covid-19 drugs Andrzej Grygiel/PAP

Europe should become self-sufficient in the production of drugs needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic, Polish President Andrzej Duda said at the infectious diseases agency Spallanzani Institute in Rome on Wednesday.

Duda started his official three-day visit to Italy on Wednesday, his first foreign trip in his second term of office. He is accompanied by his wife, Agata Kornhauser-Duda.

In an address delivered at the Spallanzani Institute, which conducts research into a coronavirus vaccine, the president recalled a Polish medical mission that visited Italy's virus-hit region of Lombardy in the first months of the pandemic.

The Polish head of state expressed "respect and gratitude" to Italian medical staff for their "heroic fight" with the coronavirus that had taken the lives of more than 200 Italian doctors. Duda expressed satisfaction that in the worst period of the coronavirus pandemic in Lombardy, "the fight of Italian doctors was also supported by our doctors from the Military Institute of Medicine."

Duda also stressed the Institute's role in fighting the coronavirus and said that a Wednesday-signed agreement between the Italian researcher and Poland's National Institute of Public Health is an example of joining forces in the fight.

Stressing the importance of European agreements to ensure the health and safety of Europe's citizens, including accords related to protective materials and disinfectants, Duda said that "thanks to joint activities and agreements, we as Europe should become self-sufficient and be able to produce and secure for ourselves the drugs that are needed during the pandemic so that we don't have to look for them outside Europe."