For example, there has been an increased likelihood of European countries stopping the export of COVID vaccines to Great Britain. The European Commission has proposed an immediate tightening of the ‘Export Transparency Mechanism’, which is in effect from 1 February. The plan comes against a backdrop of growing frustration from AstraZeneca about slow vaccine delivery, but mutual annoyances between the European Union and the United Kingdom also play a part. Britain is far more advanced in its vaccination campaign than any other country in the European Union.
reciprocity and proportionality
The Commission’s proposal, which has yet to be ratified by EU countries, tightens the norms for export supervision. So far, the main focus has been on whether exporting pharmaceutical companies have kept their supply agreements with the European Union. In the future, the security of supply for the EU population will also be a criterion in its own right, independent of contractual obligations.
The committee emphasizes two pillars under the new supervision: reciprocity and proportionality. “Exports must be in an environment in which things are also returned”, is how an EU official summarized that first element. For example, more than 10 million vaccine doses have moved from the EU to the UK, but none have been returned.
In terms of proportionality, Brussels will now look at the progress the other country has made in its vaccination campaign and how severe the pandemic is at the time. If the situation in the EU is more dire, it could become a reason to block export shipments.
Supervision for non-EU neighboring countriesb
Till now this surveillance was not applicable to a country like Switzerland. It’s about to change. The exception, applicable to most non-EU neighboring countries, is suspended; They also receive a request from Brussels to provide data on what happens in and out of vaccines and raw materials.
Supervision, no restrictions
The European Commission continues to underline that this measure is not an export ban. In the past seven weeks, pharmaceutical companies have made 380 export requests to EU countries. Of these, only one was rejected: a batch of 250,000 AstraZeneca vaccines scheduled for Australia.
Rather, it is other countries in the world that keep the vaccines, another EU official said: “Look at the reality: the United States prioritizes vaccines for Americans and until all Americans are vaccinated.” The UK is also prioritizing, ie currently there is no dose coming into the EU from UK. India is also looking at such a prioritization mechanism. So if you look at the global picture. So you see that there is actually a ban on exports.”
Italian mega evening export vaccines do not improve relations between EU and AstraZeneca
The discovery on Wednesday of 29 million doses in Italy aimed at exporting to the United Kingdom adds fuel to the flames of an already lingering affair.
An earlier version of this article stated that 40 million vaccines were exported from the EU to the UK. That’s not perfect, that’s about 10 million vaccines.