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UK looks to calm tensions with EU regarding COVID vaccine exports

UK looks to calm tensions with EU regarding COVID vaccine exports
UK looks to calm tensions with EU regarding COVID vaccine exports

UK ministers will reportedly consider ways to ease tensions over a potential European Union ban on the export of COVID-19 vaccines to the country. The move will be made during diplomacy efforts this week, as sources express the possibility of sharing vaccine supplies from a plant situated in the Netherlands.

According to sources knowledgeable of the matter, the UK government was eager to provide expertise and support at the AstraZeneca’s vaccine production plant in Leiden for helping to scale up the process of production.

As per sources, in the Dutch government, the inclination of its ministers would be to allow any export request to the United Kingdom from the Leiden plant. However, that decision could be taken out of their hands.

While there has not been a request, the system means that whatever decisions are made have to go to European Commission and they can block these decisions if they intend to do so. According to one source, it would be better if the Dutch government did not get to that point and the European Commission, AstraZeneca, and the British government could find an agreement.

Recently Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, had suggested a possible ban on vaccine exports to the United Kingdom amid claims that British-Swedish manufacturer, AstraZeneca, was favoring supplies to the UK. Meanwhile, officials from the EU have also stated that the bloc could halt exports from the plant until the company supplies the doses they say it is contractually required to provide.

On Monday 22nd March 2021, Boris Johnson asked for international cooperation, stating that a third wave of SARS-CoV-2 in other European countries would inevitably impact the United Kingdom. It is to be noted that, in the recent days, Johnson spoke to leaders from the Netherlands, France, and Germany and has privately insisted his own ministers to soothe any tit-for-tat language over the disagreement as the diplomacy efforts progress.

Source credit: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/23/uk-moves-to-ease-tensions-with-eu-over-covid-vaccine-exports

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