EU tightens export curbs over COVID-19 vaccines in bid to avoid shortfall
European Union has tightened its Covid 19 vaccine export control mechanism on Wednesday to prevent one-way flow of vaccines out of the bloc. The measure could limit vaccine exports to countries like the UK, which produce some of their own vaccines but do not in turn send doses to the EU.
Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said open roads should run in both directions. The new rules set out by the Commission, which oversees EU trade policy, expand existing measures aimed at ensuring that planned exports by drug makers do not threaten the bloc’s supply.
The action came as the EU wrangled with UK-based vaccine producer AstraZeneca over a supply shortfall, spurring a British warning against arbitrary blockades. They widen the net by adding 17 previously exempt countries – including Israel, Norway and Switzerland – to the list of countries for which exports of EU-produced vaccines require licences.
Later, Britain and the European Commission issued a joint statement saying that they are working together to improve their relationship over the pandemic. The joint EU-UK statement said, openness and global co-operation would be key to tackling the pandemic.
The proposals, to be put before EU leaders, are seen as focused on the UK and US in particular. European Member countries are struggling to contain a third wave of the epidemic and kick-start vaccine programmes slowed by a shortfall in deliveries