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EUROPEAN COMMISSION AUTHORISES FOURTH SAFE AND EFFECTIVE VACCINE AGAINST COVID-19.

“The Janssen vaccine takes us another step closer to achieving our collective goal of vaccinating 70% of the adult population by the end of summer"

declared the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, after the grant of a conditional marketing authorisation (CMA) for the COVID‑19 vaccine developed by Janssen Pharmaceutica NV.

Following the Member States' endorsement and on the basis of its own analysis, the Commission decided to grant the conditional marketing authorisation for the Janssen Pharmaceutica NV COVID-19 vaccine, of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies owned by Johnson & Johnson. This represents the fourth COVID-19 vaccine authorised in the EU.

According to the approved CMA, Janssen will be able to deliver 200 million of their single dose COVID-19 vaccine to the EU starting in the second quarter of 2021. The Janssen vaccine will be given in one dose to adults aged 18 years and older for preventing COVID-19.

EP PLENARY SESSION: NEW OBJECTIVES FOR THE EU

On March 12, the EP plenary session took place and opened by celebrating the International Women’s Day, with a particular emphasis on the women fighting the pandemic. This plenary pointed out the intense programme for the EU agenda in the following months.

In the context of the EP plenary, the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, the President of the European Commission Von der Leyen and the Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, signed a joint declaration on the Conference on the future of Europe, which allows all European citizens to have a more decisive role in the definition of future EU policies and ambitions. Several events and debate will be organized in all Member States and citizens will be able to share their ideas on a multilingual digital platform.

In this regard, President Sassoli declared: “Today marks a new begin for the EU and for all its citizens. With the conference on the future of Europe all European citizens and our civil society will have the unique opportunity to shape the future of Europe, a common project for a European working democracy. We ask you all to come forward to participate, with your ideas, to build tomorrow’s Europe, YOUR Europe.”

Furthermore, MEPs approved two new programmes: EU4Health and InvestEU. With a budget of 5,1 bn, the EU4Health programme allows the EU to deal with the main health threats and to make both medicines and medical devices more available and accessible. Whereas, the InvestEU programme aims to mobilise private and public investments for 400 bn and at least 30% of these investments should be allocated to EU climate goals.

Lastly, MEPs have expressed their concern about the attacks on media freedom in Poland, Hungary and Slovenia and asked the European Commission to protect journalists in Europe and to act in defence of the rule of law by addressing to those governments. Finally, MEPs voted in favour of more inclusive employment policies for people with disabilities, thus facilitating their access to the job market.

EC VICE PRESIDENT SCHINAS AND COMMISSIONER GABRIEL OPEN THE EU YOUTH CONFERENCE AND DIGITAL HACKATHON

The EU Youth Conference and digital Hackathon mark their opening with Vice President Margaritis Schinas, Commissioner to Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, Youth, Mariya Gabriel and the Portuguese Prime Minister Antònio Costa. The Conference constitutes the 8th Cycle of the EU Youth Dialogue which focuses on the topics related to “Europe and youth, youth and Europe: a space for democracy and participation”. The aim of the Conference is in fact the promotion of a greater role for younger generations in the shaping of the European project and the spread of its values, as Prime Minister Costa highlighted. The event was integrated by a 48-hour digital Hackathon “Solve the gap” opened by Commissioner Gabriel. The Hackathon will concentrate on the need for innovative digital solutions in order to address youth participation to political processes and participants will discuss their ideas around youth abstention or youth engagement in policies. This initiative is particularly important as it represents one of the objectives contained in the Commission’s EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027 concerning youth participation in democratic life.

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