The European Commission head and the US secretary of state on Wednesday met in Brussels to discuss common challenges and response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Our most immediate priority is to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, and to deal with its consequences on the economy, on people,” said Ursula von der Leyen in her welcome address during a press conference with US’ Antony Blinken.

“We know that no region in the world will be safe unless all are safe. And I, therefore, look forward to engaging with you, Antony, on strengthening the global supply chains for vaccines, and we all have to prepare for potential escape mutants,” she added.

The US and the EU should bring forces together to immediately have a vaccine that adapts to mutations, if necessary and “that we invest in capacities of pharmaceutical companies for mass production,” said von der Leyen.

The duo will also discuss foreign policy issues, such as challenges with Russia and China, as well as the relations with Turkey and Western Balkans, the EU official said.

Another topic on the agenda will be shaping trade and technology relations, she added.

Von der Leyen also welcomed US President Joe Biden’s decision to return to Paris Agreement on climate change and said they will discuss climate change issues as well.

Blinken, for his part, said: “The United States is recommitting to our alliances and to our partnerships and revitalizing them to meet the challenges of our time. And that’s why I’ve come to Brussels this week.”

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