‘The end of naivety’: Macron backs European Union vaccine export curbs

Juncker

"I think it is clear that first of all the company (AstraZeneca) has to catch up, has to honour the contract it has with the European member states, before it can engage again in exporting vaccines", she said.

The slow vaccine rollout is due in part to supply chain issues.

The Netherlands, Belgium, and Ireland warned against the risk of Britain retaliating by blocking exports of raw materials for vaccines to the EU.

French President Emmanuel Macron followed the footsteps of European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen and Germany's Angela Merkel while speaking at the sidelines of the European Council during late Thursday, early Friday for Asia.

Despite the delays in vaccine deliveries, the EU's is still confident of having 70% of its adult population vaccinated by the end of summer.

As tempers frayed this week, a joint statement by the British government and the commission on Wednesday said both sides are looking for ways to cooperate towards a "win-win" compromise, but no details were given.

EU leaders have endorsed the European Commission's mechanism to authorise the export of vaccine doses outside Europe before shipment, though remaining cautious on its use, while the bloc promoted its current track record as the world's main vaccine exporter.

Kyriakides called the approval "very good news" that should enable the expected acceleration of production and deliveries. "Efforts to this end must be further intensified", the leaders said.

The accusations of EU protectionism came when EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen strengthened export controls for coronavirus shots this week.

With inoculation programmes in the bloc running far behind those of Britain and the United States, the Commission warned that vaccine exports by AstraZeneca would be blocked until the pharmaceutical company delivered the shots it promised to the EU.

Macron said the European Union had been late in ramping up vaccine production and inoculations, but was catching up and would become the world's biggest producer of vaccines this summer.

The total number of exports from the European Union amounts to approximately 77 million doses to 33 different countries, including the poorer nations included in the COVAX initiative.

Stressing on worldwide cooperation, Dr Swaminathan said to CNN's Christiane Amanpour that the daily global death toll of 7,000-10,000 is "unnecessary and preventable", and that vaccines should be "equitably and fairly distributed around the world".

Under the regime proposed on Wednesday, vaccine exports from the European Union would be governed by factors including how is the destination country is faring vis-a-vis the coronavirus, and what vaccine-related products it sends to the 27-member bloc.

"We have to, and want to, explain to our European citizens that they get their fair share", she said.

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