UK to send EU harsh warning in last-ditch bid to stop export ban- ‘Taxpayers paid for it’
EU ‘may seize control of AstraZeneca production’ warns expert
Talks to help end the stalemate between the UK and EU over jabs made in AstraZeneca’s Halix plant, in Leiden, the Netherlands, are set to take place on Monday. British officials are preparing to argue that the EU has benefited from £84 million in funding for the manufacturing for the AstraZeneca jab, as it was developed by scientists at the University of Oxford. The Sunday Telegraph has reported that the UK will also say there would be no vaccine at all without British investment. It comes adter EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen demanded Britain release AstraZeneca from its contractual obligation to fulfil UK orders, before then exporting from its two UK factories.
The EU has previously said it could block on a case-by-case basis specific vaccine shipments to countries with higher vaccination rates or that do not export vaccines to the EU.
An EU Commission source said on Saturday: “We are only at the start of discussions with the UK.
“There are no talks over the weekend.”
Maros Sefcovic, the commission vice-president, told The Telegraph that both sides would consider investment in development during talks.
The UK is set to warn the EU to take into account that Britons paid for the jabs (Image: GETTY)
The UK wants its per capita investment to be part of the investment calculations because it is a single country rather than the 27 member states of the bloc.
Britain therefore argues it has proportionately invested more than some individual EU nations.
The Government’s recent spending review also said it has paid more than £6 billion in total to develop and obtain Covid vaccines.
A second EU source also told the Times that the EU has no intention of sharing with Britain the vaccine substance from Halix, which is estimated to have already produced enough for about 15-20 million doses, and can produce the equivalent of five million shots per month.
Earlier this month, Ms Leyen threatened to trigger Arcticle 122 of the EU’s treaties, which would allow the bloc to seize factories and claim patent and intellectual property rights and export bans.
She said that while the UK had received 10 million vaccines from Europe over the last six weeks, there had been no exports to the EU.
She added that the company’s contract with the bloc counted the two UK factories as part of the EU.
Speaking after an online summit of EU leaders, Ms Von der Leyen saiid the vaccine company “has to catch up, has to honour the contract it has with the European member states, before it can engage again in exporting vaccines”.