The European Union is only prepared to allow the UK to take a handful ofProduction of AstraZeneca Plc from the Netherlands as it struggles to get its immunization program back in order.
As the two sides negotiate how to share the limited supply of shots from a new Astra facility that will air in the coming weeks, the EU is insisting it should take the lion’s share because it has a much larger population. large and because his vaccination program is moving somewhat behind the UK, according to two EU officials.
The formula for scheduling supply should be based on the relative size of the UK and EU population and there is no way for the EU to accept a 50/50 split, officials added.
The EU is threatening to block vaccine shipments to the UK if it fails to reach an agreement with the British government and the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, is expected to propose tougher controls on exports on Wednesday. The Commission wants to make it easier to stop shipments from the EU if their producers have not fulfilled their European commitments. These criteria set AstraZeneca, determined to deliver less than half of the doses it promised in the first quarter, in the middle.
The UK sent a former ambassador as special envoy to negotiate with the commission. The EU believes Astra has doubled its production, so European officials have discovered the possibility of splitting production from a Dutch facility to Britain, according to diplomats familiar with the matter. The Leiden-based plant, run by subcontractor Halix, could produce about 5 million shots a month, according to press reports.
Read more: Germany’s Easter delays show Europe is running out of answers
Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday that the emphasis was on “justice” when it comes to distributing critical photos.
“We would proceed with a comprehensive assessment of the overall situation, of supply materials, of investment, but also how these exports have actually ended if you look at the figures over the last two months,” he said.
Talks have shown some progress, with both sides already discussing what the area of a compromise will look like, according to an official who asked not to be identified because the process is private. Some of the issues raised have been what the reciprocal relationship should look like; whether a vaccine-sharing arrangement should contain the final or component dose; and whether to consider initial investment in the development process.
“We expect the EU to stick to its commitments not to restrict exports where companies are meeting their contractual responsibilities,” Jamie Davies, Boris Johnson’s spokeswoman, told reporters on Tuesday. “Importers It is important that we work in cooperation with our international counterparts. We believe in free trade. ”
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The negotiations are taking place against a backdrop of growing concern that the EU is facing another wave of spiral infections and pandemic deaths that will force governments to impose even more economic pain on their hit economies. German Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered a five-day blockade during Easter following negotiations with state leaders that went deep into the night as France and Italy also tightened restrictions on activity in a bid to get the virus under control.
The commission said last week it would re-evaluate how it exports vaccines to countries that do not offer supplies from their manufacturers or that already have high levels of vaccination. The UK is the largest recipient of doses made in the EU, receiving 10 million and 42 million shots exported from the bloc so far.
The EU is looking at concentrated measures so that any tougher restrictions do not affect Pfizer Inc. vaccines. and Moderna Inc., which accounted for most of the shipments shipped to the UK from Europe until this point
The EU mechanism has been used to block vaccine exports only once so far, when Italy said it would hold a shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines to Australia.
– With the help of Joe Mayes and Suzi Ring
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