Skirmishes between the European Union and the UK, which account for most of the coronavirus vaccines, have entered a new and tougher chapter.
On Saturday, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, threatened to stop exporting AstraZeneca vaccines if the European Union did not receive their deliveries first in a new escalation.
“We have the possibility of a planned export ban,” said von der Leyen in an interview with the German media group Funke.
She added, addressing the company to AstraZeneca, “This is the message for AstraZeneca … Execute your contract with Europe first before you start shipping vaccines to other countries.”
Pfizer on the line
On Friday, Pfizer warned the association, telling it to back out of its threat to prevent vaccines from arriving in the UK as the company needed basic components to be shipped from Yorkshire, according to the Telegraph newspaper.
The pharmaceutical company and its partner BioNTech told Brussels that the UK had the potential to take revenge on an export ban by withholding the raw materials needed for its vaccine.
Croda International, a Yorkshire-based chemical company, has been supplying biomolecules to Pfizer facilities in the European Union since the two parties signed a five-year contract last November.
This led both Pfizer and BioNtech to warn EU leaders that production at the main vaccine facility in Belgium could be “shut down” within weeks if the UK moves and blocks deliveries.
These statements come amid a bitter international dispute over vaccine supplies after French President Emmanuel Macron backed an earlier threat against the European Commission President to seize factories, surrender patents and ban the export of vaccines to London, it unless Johnson hands over cans from the British company AstraZeneca.
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