The European Union will increase its investments in Asian countries like never before and strengthen cooperation in the fight against health, economic and climate crises, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a press conference following the 13th Asia–Europe Meeting Summit, Report informs.

“The European Union and Asia are a world apart, but we have never been closer. This proximity concerns the most crucial aspects of our existence: The health of our citizens, severely affected by COVID-19. The health of our economy, which has taken a hit because of the pandemic. And of course, the health of our planet, on which our very lives depend. We must address these issues together,” Ursula von der Leyen said.

“Europe has already exported over 550 million doses to countries in the Asia-Pacific region. We will continue sharing vaccines with the world. And we will continue being the leading force behind COVAX, the global vaccine solidarity facility. Today, roughly one third of COVAX doses are going to Asia and the Pacific region. Now, global solidarity is vital to end the pandemic. We need to vaccinate.”

“The pandemic has highlighted how crucial it is to have open and solid supply chains. For access to vaccines and medical equipment, of course. But also to keep our factories running and our workers employed. This is why it is so important to have a strong, mutual commitment, from the European Union and from Asia, to an open and stable trading environment. Openness, multilateralism and a rules-based trading system will be crucial to a lasting economic recovery,” she added.