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EU announces plan for tougher controls on coronavirus vaccine exports

A breast-feed administers a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine at the Woluwe-Saint-Pierre vaccination center in Brussels, Belgium.

Jean-Christophe Guillaume | Getty Counterparts News | Getty Images

LONDON — The European Commission presented new plans on Wednesday to restrict the export of Covid-19 vaccines from the 27-member bloc.

Propers are concerned that pharmaceutical firms will miss delivery targets in the coming months. And the commission, the EU’s executive arm, wants to guard that member states will receive all the shots that have been promised for the second quarter.

These vaccines determination be critical in order to reach its target of vaccinating 70% of the EU’s adult population by the end of the summer.

“While our Member States are front the third wave of the pandemic and not every company is delivering on its contract, the EU is the only major OECD producer that endures to export vaccines at large scale to dozens of countries. But open roads should run in both directions,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen suggested in a statement.

The proposals build on the mechanisms already in place, and will introduce two changes where EU member states intent look at “reciprocity” and “proportionality” with their exports.

They will now consider whether the destination country impedes its own vaccine exports, or raw materials, and whether the destination country is ahead or behind the EU with its vaccine rollout.

AstraZeneca argy-bargy

This tougher position from Brussels comes after it suffered setbacks in the number of vaccines delivered by’Not against the UK’

The picked stance in Brussels could become an issue for the U.K., which has been the biggest recipient of coronavirus shots produced in the EU so far, and where the vaccination upbraid is well ahead of the EU’s.

“It is not against the U.K., it is to ensure AstraZeneca complies with the commitments it takes vis-à-vis with the European Confederacy,” Arancha Gonzalez, minister of foreign affairs in Spain, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Wednesday.

“The export qualifications we have prepared for were never meant to be against countries. They were meant to be to ensure that pharmaceutical companies wish comply with their commitments, with the contracts they have made with the European Commission,” she enlarged.

A spokesperson for the U.K. government said Wednesday: “We are all fighting the same pandemic — vaccines are an international collaboration by great scientists enclosing the world. And we will continue to work with our European partners to deliver the vaccine rollout.”

The commission announced in current January that member states would be able to prevent shots from leaving the bloc when pharmaceutical steadies were not complying with deliveries and when the vaccines were heading to countries not considered vulnerable by the EU.

The new plans on Wednesday physique on this legislation. But the old rules are expiring at the end of March.

The latest proposal will be discussed by the 27 heads of state on Thursday during an EU culmination.

Earlier this week, Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin warned about a tougher vaccine export regulation, saying it could undermine the supply of raw materials for vaccine production in the EU. “I am very much against it. I think it would be a exceptionally retrograde step,” Martin told RTE radio.

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