The British Defense Secretary warned on Sunday that it would be “counterproductive” if the European Union decided to block exports of AstraZeneca’s corona vaccine.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen threatens an export ban to other countries if the British-Swedish company does not supply enough vaccines to the EU. She made clear in an interview in the German newspapers of media company Funke.
“The European Union knows that the rest of the world is watching the way the Commission behaves,” Ben Wallace told SkyNews. “Breaking contracts and obligations would be very damaging to a trade bloc that prides itself on respecting the law,” said the minister.
He stressed the collective nature of vaccine production, involving several countries around the world. He warned that an export ban “would jeopardize not only their citizens’ chances of an appropriate vaccination program but many other countries around the world. “
The EU and the British-Swedish AstraZeneca have been at odds with each other because the company is unable to deliver the agreed numbers of vaccines to EU countries. According to the committee chairman, only 30 percent of the 90 million doses contracted were delivered in the first quarter of this year. At the same time, AstraZeneca in the United Kingdom did meet all its obligations. The vaccine was developed in that country in collaboration with Oxford University.
“We have the option to ban planned exports,” said von der Leyen. “This is the message to AstraZeneca: you first fulfil your contract with Europe before you deliver to other countries.”
EU leaders will discuss the matter next week. The EU previously decided to tighten up the surveillance of the vaccine trade. Companies are obliged to report their export plans.