EU Reveals Plans To Impose Stricter Controls On Vaccine Exports
The new proposals will be discussed by EU leaders later this week
The European Commission has revealed the details of new plans to tighten export controls as it claimed some companies were not "delivering" on their contracts.
The proposals, which will be discussed at an EU summit tomorrow, fall short of a ban on vaccine exports, but will urge members of the bloc to judge whether exports are "justified" before they are allowed to leave.
In a statement, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the plans would introduce "reciprocity and proportionality" into the authorisation system by taking into account the vaccination rate and vaccine supply of countries before shipments are released.
If agreed, the plans could see the UK facing further restrictions in importing vaccine supplies as the EU vaccination programme lags significantly behind the UK.
The move comes after a major row between the London and Brussels over the export of vaccines, with EU leaders hitting out at AstraZeneca for allegedly failing to uphold their promises to deliver jabs to the bloc.
"The EU is proud to be the home of vaccine producers who not only deliver to EU citizens but export across the globe," von der Leyen said.
"While our Member States are facing the third wave of the pandemic and not every company is delivering on its contract, the EU is the only major OECD producer that continues to export vaccines at large scale to dozens of countries. But open roads should run in both directions."This is why the European Commission will introduce the principles of reciprocity and proportionality into the EU's existing authorisation mechanism.
She added: "The EU has an excellent portfolio of different vaccines and we have secured more than enough doses for the entire population. But we have to ensure timely and sufficient vaccine deliveries to EU citizens. Every day counts."
Her comments come after Prime Minister Boris Johnson held bilateral discussions with several EU leaders in an effort to settle the row.
A UK government spokesperson, said: "We are all fighting the same pandemic - vaccines are an international operation; they are produced by collaboration by great scientists around the world. And we will continue to work with our European partners to deliver the vaccine rollout."
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