Desperate EU chief says Brussels may still block AstraZenaca vaccine exports to UK despite snub
URSULA von der Leyen has warned Brussels may still stop AstraZeneca exports to the UK after EU leaders snubbed her barmy jabs blockade.
The crisis-hit EU chief last night threatened to halt deliveries to Britain until AZ “catches-up” on shipments to the Continent.
Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates…Von der Leyen warned the EU may still block AstraZenaca jab exports[/caption]
The bizarre move came hours after bloc leaders decided to take vaccine embargoes off the table and resoundingly rejected the Commission President’s bold bid to restrict shipments to Britain.
But last night Von Der Leyen furiously hit out at AstraZeneca after it delayed its jab deliveries and threatened to stop exports if contracts were not honoured.
She said: “Companies have to honour their contract to the European Union before they export to other regions in the world.
“And this is of course the case with AstraZeneca”
She added: “We could have been much faster if all pharmaceutical companies had fulfilled their contracts.
“AstraZenaca has committed to a lower number of doses than was contracted.”
As the EU’s rollout stutters, Britain has vaccinated nearly 30 million people.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock insisted that the UK’s “exclusive” contract with AstraZeneca – which obliges the firm to deliver doses to Britain first – was better than the EU’s.
He told the FT: “I believe that free trading nations follow the law of contracts.
“They have a ‘best efforts’ contract and we have an exclusivity deal.”
Emmanuel Macron could not resist blasting the UK over its policy of not exporting vaccines to the bloc during the early stages of its rollout.
He said: “Europe is not a selfish continent. Because when I read what the press on the other side of the Channel writes, we’re being accused of being selfish.
“Wrong. We let our supply chains untouched.Emmanuel Macron slammed the UK for not exporting vaccines[/caption]
“But we saw that the United States tend to protect their own vaccine production … that the United Kingdom did not export many doses.
“Actually, none. So we put in place an export control mechanism.”
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel said she wanted a “win-win” situation with Britain, adding she wanted to act “sensibly politically.”
While the Dutch PM Mark Rutte said: “We are friends, us and the UK, and we need each other.”
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And he warned production Pfizer’s factory in Belgium would be badly hit by tit-for-tat conflict with Britain.
He expressed hopes the UK and Brussels can do a deal at the weekend “in the spirit of win win”, adding: “A landing spot is possible here.”
Earlier old EU boss Jean-Claude Juncker hit out: “Nobody understands why we’re witnessing such a stupid vaccine war.”Former EU boss Jean-Claude Juncker hit out: ‘Nobody understands why we’re witnessing such a stupid vaccine war’[/caption]
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