In a new escalation of the vaccine dispute between Brussels and London, an EU representative was summoned to the British Foreign Office on Tuesday evening. The British news agency PA reported, citing government sources. The reason is said to be a statement by EU Council President Charles Michel on an alleged ban on vaccine exports from the country.
“The British government has not even blocked the export of a single Covid-19 vaccination,” said a Downing Street spokesman on Tuesday evening. All references to a UK export ban or any restrictions on vaccines are completely wrong.
Michel had previously defended the EU Commission’s vaccine procurement program in his newsletter. Claims that the EU practices vaccination nationalism are shocking, he wrote. For example, most of the vaccine administered in Israel comes from Belgium. The EU never stopped exporting. It is different in the USA and Great Britain.
“The United Kingdom and the United States have put an outright ban on the export of vaccines or vaccine components produced in their area,” wrote Michel in his newsletter on Tuesday evening. Later he even added more. He indicated that Britain had indirectly stopped exports. “Glad if the British reaction leads to more transparency and increased exports to the EU and third countries,” he wrote on Twitter and added: “There are different ways to introduce bans or restrictions on vaccines / drugs.”
London recently criticized Brussels for halting delivery of AstraZeneca vaccine to Australia. The EU introduced an export control mechanism after the Anglo-Swedish company cut its delivery commitment significantly. However, the UK is not affected by AstraZeneca’s delivery problems. According to managing director Pascal Soriot, London stipulated in its contract with AstraZeneca that the factories on British soil would initially only be allowed to produce for the British market. But that seems to contradict the deal with Brussels.