The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, insisted this weekend that the EU had the power to “ban” the exports of coronavirus doses, adding: “That is the message to AstraZeneca. ”
And EU Commissioner Mairead McGuinness refused to rule out a ban, saying “everything is on the table”.
The warnings reflect growing frustration on the continent that the EU is not receiving the supplies it expected from the Oxford-AstraZeneca. COVID-19[feminine[feminine vaccine from the Anglo-Swedish manufacturer.
Many European countries know an outbreak of infections amid the slow deployment of vaccines, France and Italy being among the countries forced to new restrictions.
Mr Johnson is expected to contact his EU counterparts ahead of a virtual summit on Thursday where EU leaders are expected to consider the matter, the Financial Times reported.
Government sources said the prime minister spoke to Ms von der Leyen, as well as Dutch and Belgian prime ministers Mark Rutte and Alexander De Croo last week.
He could speak to other EU leaders in the coming days, the government source added.
Speaking as part of Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday program, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said any attempt by the EU to block vaccine exports would be “counterproductive” and damage the country’s reputation. block in the world.
He said: “If contracts and commitments are broken, it is a very damaging thing for a trade bloc that prides itself on the rule of law.
“It would be counterproductive because the only thing we know about vaccine production and manufacturing is that it is a collaboration.
“If we start unchecking this, if the Commission starts doing this, I think it would jeopardize not only the chances of their citizens to have a proper vaccination program, but also many other countries in the world with damage to the country’s reputation. EU, I think, it would be very difficult for them to change in the short term. ”
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson said Saturday was ‘a record day for vaccine deployment, with 873,784 people getting hit’ in the UK.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted: “For the second day in a row, the team reached a new record number of vaccines administered in a single day – 873,784.
“This massive team effort shows the best of Britain – thank you to the British public for coming forward. ”
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: ‘In one day we vaccinated the equivalent of the entire adult populations of Liverpool, Southampton and Oxford combined. ”
But Professor Jeremy Brown, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, said the UK jab rollout could be “slightly” delayed due to supply issues.
He told Sky News: “It was always the vaccine supply that was the concern that could delay things, and yes, I suspect our vaccination schedule will be delayed slightly from what we thought. it could have been a few weeks ago.
“But then we’re ahead of schedule, so we’re probably going to go back to the original schedule and end up giving all adults a vaccine around mid to late summer. ”
Analysis: Minister hints at retaliation if EU imposes vaccine export ban
By Rob Powell, Political Correspondent
He didn’t say so explicitly, but Ben Wallace makes it clear that the UK could fight back if the EU decides to block vaccine exports.
Any kind of cross-border jab warfare would not be good for either, because supply chains are so intertwined.
For example, if the EU were to block shipments of Pfizer vaccine to the UK, Westminster could respond by stopping the Yorkshire-made lipids that are needed for the vaccine to pass to Belgium.
But the European Commission is under immense pressure from the Member States.
A combination of over-caution regarding the Oxford jab and AstraZeneca’s stuttering supplies saw the bloc’s vaccine rollout slowly start.
Brussels chef Ursula von der Leyen raised the temperature again, pointedly mentioning that no vaccine stock had come from the UK recently.
EU leaders will meet on Thursday to discuss the way forward.
In the face of the feverish Brexit situation, a ban on exports to the UK would be a major step, especially given the apparent reassurance Boris Johnson pulled out of the EU earlier this year.