UK Government accused of being ‘very selfish’ in row over EU vaccine supply

The UK Government should share more of its supply of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine with EU countries, a Belgian MEP has said, as she labelled the argument that Britain won the race to sign a deal with the pharmaseutical giant “very selfish”.

Kathleen Van Brempt told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Thursday that she was not in favour of the EU placing tighter controls on vaccine exports to Britain, but warned that the “only way out” of the deepening crisis was for the UK Government to agree to “fairness and cooperation”.

Her remarks came after Wednesday’s announcement that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen would push ahead with attempts at toughening the bloc's vaccine export restrictions, despite both sides issuing a joint statement agreeing to work together to achieve a win-win deal.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

“It's high time that everybody acknowledges that there is an imbalance between AstraZeneca vaccines going to the UK,” Ms Van Brempt told GMS, “and none of the vaccines coming back from the UK to the EU.”

The Party of European Socialists politician said the argument that Britain should receive its full consignment of vaccine ahead of other countries because it had been first to secure an exclusivity deal with AstraZeneca was “a very selfish way of looking at things”.

“Maybe using all the power that you have and the money that you have to get as much vaccines as possible [is] the game you can play.

“But that should not be the way we play as Europeans,” she added.

Ms Van Brempt warned that, if a vaccine sharing agreement was not reached, an escalating crisis could see both sides resort to retaliatory measures.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she would push ahead with attempts at toughening the bloc's vaccine export restrictions to Britain, despite both sides issuing a joint statement agreeing to work together to achieve a win-win deal.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she would push ahead with attempts at toughening the bloc's vaccine export restrictions to Britain, despite both sides issuing a joint statement agreeing to work together to achieve a win-win deal.

“The worst case scenario is that Europe will not ramp up its production because the UK will block ingredients that we need for our vaccines.

“And the UK will not get extra vaccines because there will be a ban coming from Europe and from the rest of the world.

“And everything will slow down - that is the real issue - everything will slow down.”

She added: “The only way out is via fairness and cooperation.”

Kathleen Van Brempt told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Thursday that she was not in favour of the EU placing tighter controls on vaccine exports to Britain, but warned that the “only way out” of the deepening crisis was for the UK Government to agree to “fairness and cooperation”.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

The UK Government should share more of its supply of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine with EU countries, a Belgian MEP has said, as she labelled the argument that Britain won the race to sign a deal with the pharmaseutical giant “very selfish”.
 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.