Reporters / DPA
COVID-19: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejected Charles Michel’s allegations. The United Kingdom did not prohibit the export of a single vaccine or its components.
A war of words began Tuesday evening between London and Brussels, following a “newsletter” from European Council President Charles Michel in which he spoke of a “complete ban” by the United Kingdom and the United States “for exporting vaccines or vaccine components” against Covid-19 produced on their soil.
European Commission spokesman Peter Stano confirmed Wednesday that the Chargé d’Affairs of the European Union delegation in London “has been called to hold a meeting” at the British Foreign Office. The latter, however, does not want to comment on the content of the discussions, which must also continue.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, upon Wednesday’s questioning in the House of Commons, dismissed Charles Michel’s allegations. In statements carried by the BBC, he said that the United Kingdom “did not prevent” the export “of a single vaccine or its components. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab wrote a letter to the Belgian asking him to put things right, according to public service media.
The dispute comes on top of the ongoing row over AstraZeneca’s vaccine deliveries. The Swedish-British company is fulfilling its obligations to the United Kingdom, but has sharply reduced its first shipments to the European Union. The European Commission has since insisted that its contract with the company also mentions production sites located in the United Kingdom. So there is no reason, she says, for AstraZeneca to book this production for its British customer.
We continue to work until the company receives the doses that we signed
When asked about the issue on Wednesday, UNHCR spokesperson Eric Mamer said he was unable to give a number for vaccines that would have entered the European Union from the United Kingdom, or left them at a foreign destination. He adds, “We will continue to work until the company receives the doses that we signed for.” As for the answer (legal procedure?), Everything is still on the table, he answers.
Meanwhile, the head of the EPP group in the German European Parliament, Manfred Weber, Dominic Raab called on to “stop teaching the lesson” and “show the numbers of vaccine exports” from London, saying that in the opposite direction “8 million BioNTech – Pfizer vaccines were sent from the European Union To the UK in recent months. “
The “transparency and licensing” mechanism for exporting vaccines against Covid-19, set up by the European Union at the end of January in the midst of a battle with AstraZeneca, usually ends at the end of the month. As for the rest, “All options are on the table,” said Eric Mamer. This mechanism requires every vaccine export from the European Union to be approved in advance. Recently, Italy, with support from UNHCR, prevented 250,000 doses of AstraZeneca from leaving for Australia.
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