(News 24h) – France, Germany warn AstraZeneca will face penalties or even legal action if only the British priority is given.
The conflict between the UK and the EU in the vaccine sector has become more tense with new pressure on the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
|Europe has prolonged vaccine tensions with the UK.|
Germany and France recently sent out warnings that the company will “face penalties or legal action” if it prioritizes orders for the British over Europe.
Specifically, French Foreign Minister Clement Beaune on 31/1 warned, AstraZeneca is facing “with serious accusations” and that is not something that Brussels handled “lightly”.
The official said the Anglo-Swedish vaccine maker could face “punishment or punishment” if found to favor its British customers over European customers.
Secretary of State Beaune added that Brussels could punish the company by refusing to order any additional doses or imposing “foreboding in the contract” penalties.
“If the British are given priority then it is a problem” – The French Foreign Minister demanded a strong response from the pharmaceutical company, asking them to take a “clear and transparent” view.
Meanwhile, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier also issued a serious warning to AstraZeneca. Mr Altmaier told Die Welt newspaper that “if individual companies fail to comply with their obligations, a decision must be made on the legal consequences.”
“In any case, you should not favor a country other than the EU” – said the German minister.
The EU has been in a heated dispute with AstraZeneca over the manufacturer’s decision to cut its initial EU vaccine supply from 80 million to 31 million doses.
EU officials then urged the company to shift UK-made vaccines to the EU. The EU also suspects the pharmaceutical giant will prioritize contracting with other countries such as the UK.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca still asserted that it would fully respect its obligations to the UK government and argued that the problem with the EU’s orders involved manufacturers in Europe.
Brussels has responded by imposing export control measures on all vaccines produced in the bloc, including AstraZeneca’s own vaccine.
Now, any vaccine manufacturer needs to get approval from Brussels for their exports before they can be exported outside the bloc.
Brussels even considered activating an emergency mechanism in the Brexit deal with the UK to unilaterally restrict the movement of goods, including vaccines, from the EU to Northern Ireland. However, this mechanism was quickly rejected after it was met with backlash from England and Northern Ireland.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Jan. 31 said on Twitter that the parties have made some progress in resolving the situation and AstraZeneca has agreed to “provide an additional 9 million doses in the first quarter. by 2021 “, bringing the total number of vaccines received during that period from 31 to 40 million doses. AstraZeneca also affirmed it would “expand production capacity in Europe.”
Earlier that same day, she also had an online meeting with the CEOs of the drug manufacturers that are making vaccines, warning about the dangers of new variants and so it is crucial to be prepared for the arrival such new variations.
Last week, AstraZeneca proposed to accelerate the process of vaccine deliveries as well as adding 8 million doses to the EU to settle disputes with the alliance.
However, EU officials say such numbers are too low compared to the company’s initial commitment of at least 80 million doses in the first quarter of this year. Earlier in January, AstraZeneca unexpectedly announced it would reduce the supply of vaccine to the EU due to problems in production in Europe.
The EU countries are behind Israel, UK and US in the distribution of vaccines. The block is struggling to secure supplies because manufacturers are too slow to deliver. A total of 35 European countries have implemented the COVID-19 vaccination program with 25 million doses injected.