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EU Health Security At Risk: China’s Threat

China threatens Europe’s security and stability on many levels, including that of medicines, said director of the Czech Security and Intelligence Service Michal Koudelka. He adds that politicians in particular should not repeat the same mistakes as in the past, when security scares linked to Russia were understated.

The head of the Czech intelligence services believes that the Chinese threat is also linked to the massive production of drugs in the Asian country.

“We can’t even imagine what would happen if China stopped producing medicine for Europe as a result of an international crisis or conflict,” Koudelka warned at a conference. organized in the Czech Parliament.

The European Commission is expected to present the much-awaited EU pharmaceuticals strategy in March, which will, among other things, seek to restore the manufacture of pharmaceuticals in Europe.

Europe is currently facing a crisis of shortages of antibiotics and other medicines which has created serious difficulties for the governments of the European Union. One of the reasons for this situation is the interruption of the supply of medicines from China, the Czech Chamber of Pharmacists recently indicated.

Last month in particular, painkillers and fever medicines (anything containing Paracetamol or Ibuprofen), as well as antibiotics, were out of stock in pharmacies, and children’s medicines were particularly scarce. .

French government spokesman Olivier Véran told EURACTIV France last month that it was absolutely necessary for Paris to relocate pharmaceutical industries to produce drugs.

According to him, a coordinated strategy of the Twenty-Seven is needed: “one of the lessons of the crisis is that we cannot remain as Europeans 95% dependent on a few Asian countries in terms of access to medication”.

Similarly, in Vienna, Social Democrat spokesman for health issues, Philip Kucher, recently proposed the creation of a national crisis stock of essential medicines. Indeed, according to him, “ the availability of vital medicines is too important to leave it to chance or to China ”.

According to a 2020 European Parliament report, essential and strategic medicines should be considered a priority given that at the time, 40% of medicines marketed in the EU came from third countries, while 60-80% of active pharmaceutical ingredients were produced in China and India.

China is notably the largest supplier of non-European pharmaceutical products, with 14.3% of the total volume, followed by the United States (4.0%) and India (2.4%), according to the economic daily Nikkei Asia.

Do not Reproduce The “Russian Error”

“Another very serious risk linked to China is the rather considerable dissemination of disinformation on various subjects, currently, of course, in connection with the war in Ukraine”, added Mr. Koudelka.

Intelligence warnings about Russia have often been downplayed, Czech security services have pointed out. For intelligence services, politicians should not repeat the same mistake with China.

“Please listen to us now when we say that China’s activities pose a risk to the Czech Republic and that we must be ready and determined to deal with it effectively,” Koudelka said.

The Czech Republic has faced a new wave of criticism from Beijing after a phone call between the new Czech president-elect and the Taiwanese president’s office.

While Taiwan is governed independently from China, Beijing considers the island part of its territory. The leaders of many countries refrain from meeting officially with senior Taiwanese politicians so as not to provoke China.

Currently, all representatives of the Czech Republic, including the Prime Minister, the President and the leaders of the lower and upper houses of the Czech Parliament, speak in unison and insist on continuing relations with Taiwan, regardless of concerns Chinese.

“The nascent Czech attitude towards China is perceived substantially around the world. The country has a newly elected president and leaders who understand the threats associated with Beijing,” said Luke de Pulford, director of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, an international group of cross-partisan lawmakers working to reform the way democratic countries apprehend China.

This article is originally published on euractiv.fr

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