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EU loses ground: Brussels sees UK export ban as vaccine war at all levels | World | News




Brussels is furious with Astrazeneca, accusing the company of prioritizing vaccine deliveries to the UK over those to the EU. EU officials say the Anglo-Swedish company delivered just a third of the 90 million doses of the vaccine it had promised in the first quarter of this year, while fully fulfilling its UK contracts. Today, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen threatened to join forces with Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel to block the delivery of 19 million doses of the Astrazeneca vaccine to the UK.

In an interview with German newspaper group Funke, Ms von der Leyen issued a stark warning to Astrazeneca and the UK government.

She said: “We have the option to ban a planned export.

“This is the message to AstraZeneca: you fulfill your contract with Europe before you start supplying other countries.”

The Commission president plans to hold preliminary discussions on the export ban at Thursday’s European Council summit in Brussels.

It immediately received the support of the French Minister of European Affairs.

Clément Beaune told AFP that Europe must “defend its interests”, adding: “We need a principle of reciprocity: to provide others if they supply us in accordance with signed contracts”.

READ MORE: Ireland said it would ‘regret the next day’ after ‘supporting the EU in UK’

It comes as Covid infection rates in nearly three-quarters of European countries continue to rise, threatening a new round of national lockdowns.

Nearly a third of France went into a month-long shutdown at midnight Friday, after the country recorded nearly 35,000 cases in 24 hours.

Angela Merkel also warned the Germans that the country should apply an “emergency brake” and reimpose restrictions, as new cases of Covid continue to increase exponentially.

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