‘We’re not a punching bag!’ EU hits back at vaccine rivals and threatens ‘sanctions’

President Sassoli insisted the European Union is not a “punching bag” and will no longer accept obstacles to its common vaccination programme. Brussels has been threatening to impose stricter control on the exports of the coronavirus vaccine from the bloc to third-countries after suffering severe delays in delivering the jab to its own citizens. AstraZeneca has sparked particular fury from the EU after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen claimed the Anglo-Swedish company had been reneging on its contractual obligations towards the bloc.

Mr Sassoli insisted the EU “must ensure contractual obligations from pharmaceutical companies are respected.”

He added: “We cannot allow for any distraction in this phase.”

The European Parliament president also commended the European Commission for the hard stance taken on the extension of export sanctions, saying they were going “in the right direction.”

Mr Sassoli said: “There needs to be reciprocity and proportionality.

“We can’t allow vaccines to go to countries that don’t need them.”

JUST IN: ‘Hang on!’ Adam Boulton explodes at ex EU chief on AZ jab – ‘You wouldn’t even use it!’

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