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EU pledges restraint in implementing export ban on corona vaccines | NOW

The European Commission (EC) has promised the Netherlands and other countries to be cautious about applying stricter export rules for corona vaccines, said outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte after the online summit with EU leaders. The committee is frustrated, in particular, with the deliveries of the British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which supplies significantly fewer vaccines than was contractually agreed.

EC chairman Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday evening that AstraZeneca will only be allowed to export vaccines again if the company complies with the deliveries. “We must and want to explain to Europeans that they are getting their fair share.”

French President Emmanuel Macron also wants the EU to take tougher action against companies. “It’s done with the naivety. I support the fact that we must block all vaccine exports as long as pharmaceutical companies do not keep their commitments to Europeans.”

Many of the vaccines of the British pharmaceutical company are produced in the European Union, including in a factory in Leiden. Many vaccines are exported to the UK, which will be hit hardest by any blockages.

In total, more than 77 million vaccines have been exported from the EU since the beginning of December. The United Kingdom imported 21 million of them. In the UK, nearly 46 vaccines have been distributed per 100 inhabitants, while the EU lags behind at 14 per 100 inhabitants.

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Rutte and some of his colleagues are not in favor of an export ban and prefer to resolve the disagreement through dialogue. The prime minister had therefore already asked for restraint. “Having such an instrument is not bad at all, but it should preferably not be used. We think it is important to leave this gun unloaded.”

Rutte spoke to Johnson about AstraZeneca

The prime minister expects that corona vaccines will still go to the United Kingdom. Last week, Rutte spoke with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the production of the vaccines in the Leiden factory. Rutte has told him that the Netherlands will stop vaccine exports if the European Commission so wishes, because it is about that.

This weekend, Brussels and London will have another consultation. Rutte assumes that they will work it out together and that an export ban will not be necessary. “They will continue to negotiate about this on Saturday and I have the impression that a win-win form should be possible after all.”

The British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca was expected to deliver more than 300 million doses to the European Union by the end of June, but had to reduce that target to 100 million due to production problems. As a result, the European member states are delayed and wondered whether the company is favoring other countries.

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