Tue Mar 9th, 2021 at 08:40:09 PM EST
EU rejects accusations of 'vaccine nationalism' | Reuters |
European Council President Charles Michel on Tuesday rejected charges of "vaccine nationalism" levelled against the EU, and said that while Britain and the United States have outright bans on exports of COVID-19 shots, the EU had not stopped exporting.
The EU has found itself under fire at home for a vaccine rollout far slower than those of former member Britain or the United States, and abroad for so far doing less than China, Russia or India to supply vaccines to poor countries.
Last week it annoyed vaccine buyer's abroad by backing an Italian decision to halt a shipment to Australia.
In a lengthy statement Michel, who represents the leaders of the 27 European Union member states, laid out a defence of the bloc's strategy. He said that without Europe, it would not have been possible to develop and produce several vaccines in less than a year, and EU solidarity had helped poor countries get first doses.
Michel also defended a system to control the export of doses produced in EU countries, invoked by Italy last week to block a shipment of AstraZeneca shots to Australia.
Britain had a quick retort for the comments by Michel, who represents the 27 European Union member states, saying it has not blocked the export of a single COVID-19 vaccine.
"Any references to a UK export ban or any restrictions on vaccines are completely false," a UK government spokesman said.
The British government's rebuff of Michel's comments came at a time of growing tensions between London and Brussels following the completion of Britain's exit from the EU at the end of 2020.
Europe dis-engages from pharmaceuticals
Until the G7 meeting where partners vowed $7.5bn to GIVA COVAX, there was barely $2bn donated, more than half from a single donor ... of course the EU-27.
Highest EU Representative, NOT the ambassador..
UK accused of 'silly spat' with EU over post-Brexit diplomatic status