Home U.K EU official admits UK vaccine success vindicates Brexit: ‘Interesting opportunity’

EU official admits UK vaccine success vindicates Brexit: ‘Interesting opportunity’


The EU Commissioner responsible for vaccine supplies, Thierry Breton, has claimed AstraZeneca has agreed that all but one batch of its COVID-19 jabs produced at a Netherlands plant will be sent to European member states rather than Britain. The former French finance minister has declared that “zero” doses made in the EU would be sanctioned for delivery to the UK until the drugmaker fulfilled its contract with the bloc. He compared the EU and UK programmes to “the fable of the tortoise and the hare,” stating that an “extremely rapid” increase in European production will allow the EU to meet its target of full inoculation for 70 percent of adults by July.

It comes after Brussels faced hiccups in its vaccine rollout early on, especially with AstraZeneca, while Britain soared ahead.

An EU official acknowledged that the UK’s experience is an “interesting microcosm of some of the kind of Brexit opportunities and risks,” in an interview with Politico.

Slow decision making inside the Commission is reported to have sparked a wave of unease through the 27 nations in the bloc in the early days of vaccine take-up.

Politico reports how, “as a front-runner in the vaccine race emerged,” EU states were placed on high alert to break away from the usual rigid structure.

Some EU countries “weren’t waiting for the Commission to start striking deals,” and so the likes of France and Spain “separately began talks” with drugmakers.

EU27 health ministers signed off on a Commission plan to buy on their behalf on June 12, but the Franco-German initiative continued to press forward, having invited the Netherlands and Italy to join them too.

And these plans seemed to run smoothly away from the EU.

On June 13, the group — known as the “Inclusive Vaccine Alliance” — announced a deal for between 300 million and 400 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab.

READ MORE: Macron ‘treated UK like enemy’ before demanding EU block Covid jab exports

On June 17, Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides presented what would become the EU’s new vaccine plan.v

Rather than going back and forth to gather approvals from each EU country, the Commission repurposed a mechanism called the ‘Emergency Support Instrument’.

Once approved by regulators, jabs would be distributed to EU countries according to their populations.

After the 27 members of the EU signed up to the plan, the alliance came to an end, allowing the Commission to take over complete control with talks.


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