Humiliated EU bosses LOSE AstraZeneca court battle after blaming UK drug firm for Europe’s vaccine shambles
HUMILIATED EU bosses were left red-faced after their shambolic lawsuit against AstraZeneca flopped.
Bungling eurocrats were knocked back by a top judge after they demanded the vaccine giant speed up deliveries – or face whopping multi-million pound fines.
Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest updatesEU chiefs have been left embarrassed – after their bungled lawsuit against AstraZeneca was thrown out by a judge[/caption]
Brussels wanted to force the UK-based firm to ship 120million doses by the end of this month.
But the court cut that number to just 80m – and pushed the deadline back to September 27.
Embarrassingly for the bloc, AstraZeneca said it has already provided more than 70m of those, and will easily exceed the target.
No timetable was set for when the pharma giant needs to stump up the remaining 220m jabs bought up by the EU.
Euro chiefs had claimed AZ was in “continuous breach” of its contract by failing to meet targets.
But in April, the firm came out fighting – insisting it has “fully complied” with the deal and will “strongly defend” itself.Eurocrats had demanded the vaccine giant speed up deliveries or face huge fines – despite bungling their own jabs roll-outs. PM Boris Johnson was given two doses of AZ[/caption] But today a judge dismissed the bloc’s case against AZ[/caption]
The long-running spat deepened when both tried to claim victory within minutes of the verdict dropping.
AZ “welcomed” the Belgian court’s decision and said it has “fully complied” with its contract.
A spokesperson said: “The European Commission had requested 120m vaccine doses cumulatively by the end of June 2021, and a total of 300m doses by the end of September 2021.
“The judge ordered delivery of 80m doses by September 27 2021. To date, the company has supplied more than 70m doses to the EU, and will substantially exceed 80m doses by the end of June 2021.”
‘NO RIGHT OF PRIORITY IN EUROPE’
And they said: “The court found that the European Commission has no exclusivity or right of priority over all other contracting parties.”
But the EU bragged of a win because the judgement says the vaccine maker did break the agreement.
The court decided the drugs giant’s refusal to use its Oxford plant to supply the continent was a breach.
But AZ denied Brussels’ claim the ruling will force it to divert jabs from the factory for future deliveries.
In April, the UK was told it would get “zero” doses of the vaccine made in the EU – until the company fulfils its commitments to the bloc.The EU initially bodged up its own vaccinations programme after claiming AZ may not be safe in certain age groups[/caption] But despite that, they demanded millions more doses[/caption]
The EU was slow to authorise the AZ jab, and when it did many European states defied the ruling and initially banned it for over-65s.
But they were later forced into U-turns despite their vilification of the life-saving doses.
It came after real-world data from Britain’s faster rollout showed how effective it is.
The row has poisoned wider ties between Britain and the bloc that have also been hit by Sausage Wars tensions.
EU Brexit chief Maros Sefcovic warned of “a downward spiral in our relations” over the barney on exports of bangers to Northern Ireland.
The top eurocrat accused Boris Johnson of trying to renege on last year’s Brexit pact due to “buyer’s remorse”.
He welcomed No 10’s call for a truce and more talks, but refused to take the threat of retaliatory tariffs off the table.
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But stepping back from the brink, Brussels boss Ursula von der Leyen said she’s “deeply convinced” a fix can be found and vowed to show more “flexibility”.
The furious row over a planned EU ban on the sale of chilled meats from GB into NI overshadowed the start of the G7 summit.
Ministers have not ruled out refusing to enforce the blockade if a long-term solution can’t be found in the next fortnight.
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