The European Union announced that it opened a lawsuit against the AstraZeneca laboratory for failing to keep its commitments on delivery of its vaccines, a process which the Swedish-British group immediately considered “unfounded”.
A European Commission spokesman said “the terms of the contract (signed by Brussels on behalf of member states) were not respected and the company was not in a position to implement a credible strategy to ensure timely delivery”, European A spokesman for the commission said.
90 million doses not given in the first quarter
AstraZeneca promised to contract only 30 million doses of 120 million contracts delivered in the first quarter to EU countries. In the second quarter, it intends to provide only 70 million out of the 180 million initially planned.
On Friday, “legal action was initiated unanimously on behalf of the Commission as well as twenty-seven member states in their support for this process,” the spokesperson specified, without forfeiting the court.
The European Union’s contract with AstraZeneca, a censored version of which has been made public, is a contract governed by Belgian law, stating that the laboratory, the commission and the state to settle any potential dispute “special courts” Serve to establish before the jurisdiction. ” Brussels ”.
AstraZeneca said in a statement on Monday that the lawsuit was “without merit” and demonstrated a desire to “strengthen himself”.
The group says it has “fully respected” the contract with Brussels and is on the verge of delivering 50 million doses “by forecast” by the end of April, hoping to have the opportunity to settle the dispute as soon as possible will get. possible. “.
“The manufacture of vaccines is difficult (…). We are making progress in facing technical challenges and our production is improving”, argues the lab, while specifying that increasing its production will take time .
“What matters to us in this case is to ensure the rapid delivery of adequate doses to which European citizens are entitled”, the Commission spokesman argued.
Section of ” Best reasonable effort »At the heart of the matter
In this civil action, which would take several months, Europeans “should either request the termination of the contract for non-performance, with damages, or the performance (delivery) of the contract, which is unlikely”, last week. Belgian lawyer Arnaud Janssen, who is believed to have studied a contract with the De Bantt law firm.
Clauses in which the laboratory must “have the best reasonable effort” (the obligation of the means) “at its heart” are in accord with it.
AstraZeneca, for its part, must argue that it had other contracts to honor with the United Kingdom where the vaccine was authorized at the end of December, a month earlier than the European Union, according to the same source.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday reiterated his support for AstraZeneca, describing it as “a very solid partner for the United Kingdom”.
The Commission already initiated a contractual dispute settlement process to resolve the conflict with AstraZeneca on 19 March, and announced that it had not activated the option available to the European Union in the contract, to purchase an additional 100 million doses .
The use of the AstraZeneca vaccine is prohibited in most countries of the European Union, which may be due to very rare cases of thrombosis. Denmark no longer uses it.