BRUSSEL – The European Union on Saturday overturned an effort to restrict vaccine exports to the UK through Northern Ireland, the latest misstep in the continent’s faltering vaccine rollout.
The blaze came under harsh criticism from Britain, Ireland and the World Health Organization on Friday after it announced plans to use emergency measures under the Brexit deal to prevent Kovid-19 vaccines being sent to the Irish border in Britain .
The reversal took place as the European Commission and its president, Ursula von der Leyen, were already under fire for the relatively slow rollout of vaccination in 27 member states, particularly compared to Britain and the United States.
The commission announced sanctions without consulting member states or the UK, a former member – unusually aggressive behavior that is not exclusive to the bloc, said Mujtaba Rahman, head of Europe for the Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy.
“There is clearly panic at the highest level of the commission, and the issue of the Northern Ireland Agreement has been swept away in this major issue of the EU’s poor vaccine performance,” he said.
The play unfolded until the block’s plan to vaccinate 70 percent of adults in the summer was unattainable. Already slow to order and deliver vaccines, the European Union was hit with a devastating strike when AstraZeneca announced that it would slow delivery of vaccines due to production problems.
The initial EU plan to limit vaccine exports to non-EU countries is the Republic of Ireland, a member of the European Union and Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. Both sides are committed not to re-create any land border between the two parts of the island of Ireland.
The Brexit agreement postponed emergency measures so quickly that when Britain relinquished the right to block at the end of 2020, the question of Ireland’s deal with the EU’s honesty began to arise, one of the biggest sticking points there was one. Deal. The Prime Minister of Ireland, Michael Martin, immediately raised the issue with Ms. von der Leyen.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to the two leaders. And Northern Ireland’s first minister, Arlene Foster, called the block’s move an “unbelievable act of hostility”.
Britons who favor Bronkit point to their country’s more rapid vaccination rollout as a benefit of leaving the block and its slow, collective procedures.
Tom Tugendat, a conservative member of the British Parliament who initially opposed Brexit, but reluctantly voted for the deal, Said on twitter Signs of the vaccine controversy were cause for concern.
“Whatever your view on Brexit, it is now perfectly clear how we are viewed by the EU – we are out,” he said, and “good will.” He called for a policy that “rebuilds relationships.”
Ms von der Leyen and the Commission were quickly returned saying that a mistake had been made and that any vaccine export controls would ensure that the Brexit Agreement, which assured that there would be no new border checks between Ireland and Northern Ireland , Will be “unaffected”. That protocol essentially considers Northern Ireland as part of the regulatory space of the European Union.
But it was clear that the aim of bringing it under export control was to prevent any vaccine doses produced within the EU from being shipped across the open border on the island of Ireland to Britain.
The British took this as an offensive action. Mr. Johnson telephoned Ms. von der Leyen and later stated that she had expressed her grave concern about the possible effects.
The World Health Organization criticized the European Union’s export controls, saying such measures threaten an epidemic. Its director general, Drs. Tedros Adenom Ghebayeus said on Friday that “vaccine nationalism” could be a “long recovery”. On Saturday, Assistant Director-General Mariangela Simao called for the access to drugs to be a “very worrying trend”.
After speaking to Mr Martin and Mr Johnson and seeking advice from the EU ambassador to London, Ms von der Leyen posted a tweet after midnight stating that “we agreed on the principle that the export ban of vaccines Should not be held by companies where they are carrying out contractual responsibilities. “
The block still intends to introduce export controls that could prevent any vaccines made in the EU from being shipped to non-EU countries, but without the inclusion of Northern Ireland, which in any event would take its vaccines from Britain Receives.
Earlier in the week, the Commission and Ms. von der Leyne accused the British-Swedish company of not staying on its contract. He suggested that AstraZeneca, which is working with a vaccine developed at the University of Oxford, was giving preferential treatment to Britain and even sending some vaccines made in the European Union.
AstraZeneca dismissed the controversy, and its chief executive, Pascal Soriot, insisted that the contract with the European Union required only “the best reasonable efforts” to fulfill the delivery schedule.
The EU signed its contract with Britain three months ago, Mr Soriot said, and under that contract, vaccines produced in the UK must first go there.
Lawyers disagreed over the language of the EU contract, which was only partially made public.
Ms von der Leyen, who had previously left most of the vaccine controversy to her commissioners, said on Thursday that the bloc would introduce a temporary export-control mechanism to block the export of vaccines made in the European Union – clear to AstraZeneca As a measure. , Which also manufactures in Belgium.
Even the acceptance of the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the European Union came on Friday. The company may therefore be blamed for the current reduction in vaccinations stemming from earlier commission decisions to order in bulk for at least the entire defect, which lowered the vaccine price but delayed orders and delivery.
When the AstraZeneca vaccine was effective for the German government and for people over 65 years old, there was little doubt that when the vaccine was approved for all adults for the first time, the French government and whether The then President Emmanuel Macron doubted it.
For the German magazine Der Spiegel, no fan of Ms. von der Leyen, the maliciousness of the vaccine rollout is her responsibility. “Europe is facing a vaccine disaster,” the magazine wrote, which “may eventually be the biggest disaster of her entire political career.”