BBC Newsnight: MEP says EU could block vaccine exports to the UK – ‘It’s a possibility’

Vaccine: Von der Leyen hints at slowing of exports to UK

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The EU boss said “all options are on the table” when it comes to the vaccine, suggesting the EU could restrict the export of coronavirus jabs. Asked by BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis whether Ms Von der Leyen would stop vaccine doses coming into the UK, Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts said it was “a possibility”.

He added: “We never entered the game of vaccine nationalism, but the fact is that the EU has been exporting doses without receiving one single dose from abroad.

“So we work on the basis of reciprocity and fairness.

“So, if there are supply problems, we expect all customers to be treated in a fair way.”

On Wednesday, the Commission President threatened to restrict the export of jabs to to countries that refuse to share their own vaccines.

Ms von der Leyen added she is “ready to use whatever tool we need” to ensure the reliable delivery of jabs.

She said the EU has authorised 314 applications for vaccine exports and has rejected just one since export approval started on February 1.

Ms von der Leyen pointed out that “41 million doses have been exported to 33 countries” as she warned, “open roads run in both directions”.

She said: “We are exporting a lot to countries that are themselves producing vaccines and we think this is an invitation to be open, so that we also see exports from those countries coming back to the European Union.

“The second point that is of importance to us: we will reflect on whether exports to countries who have higher vaccination rates than us are still proportionate.

“We want reliable deliveries of vaccines, we want an increase in the contracts, we want to see reciprocity and proportionality in exports and we are ready to use whatever tool we need to deliver on that.

“This is about making sure that Europe gets its fair share.”

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She added: “Where the UK is concerned, we have observed that, in the last six weeks, 10 million doses by now have been exported to the UK.

“Indeed, the UK is producing AstraZeneca. In our contract with AstraZeneca there are even two sites in the UK that are put in the contract for potential deliveries for the European Union.

“We are still waiting for doses to come from the UK, so this is an invitation to show us that there are also doses from the UK coming to the European Union so that we have reciprocity.”

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