On German radio this morning, the European Commission President made clear she disputed the reasons given by Astra Zeneca for why it couldn’t honour its vaccine contract with the EU.. #covid /1
Mrs von der Leyen also disputed Astra Zeneca’s suggestion that the company’s UK based sites had to serve the UK first. She said their contract made clear the EU would have access to the UK and EU sites. She again called on Astra Zeneca to publish the contract immediately /2
Today the EU will announce details of new “transparency” regulations, requiring pharmaceutical companies to reveal how much of the vaccine/parts of the vaccine they’re producing, where they wish to export them to and when. EU countries could then authorise exports. Or not /3
EU insists this isn’t designed as an export ban but it gives powers to EU countries -in theory- to block vaccine exports until pharmaceutical companies honour their contractual commitments with the EU /4
EU officials say the new rules are primarily aimed at AstraZeneca but they say WTO regulations mean regulations need to be applied to all pharmaceutical companies producing the vaccine inside the EU not just one /5

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More from @BBCkatyaadler

29 Jan
After huge to + fro between AstraZeneca and Brussels about the terms of their #covid vaccines contract, the EU Commission says AstraZeneca has now agreed to publish the contract. EU has argued terms include delivery of vaccines from the company’s UK as well as EU production sites
Contract does mention that under the terms of making the”best reasonable efforts”(legal term in this context) to provide EU with agreed number of vaccines AstraZeneca would use production facilities in EU but also U.K. and possibly sites outside EU “to accelerate supply” toEurope
EU believes it has a strong case to demand some vaccines produced in U.K. should be diverted to EU to make up the approx 60% shortfall in vaccine delivery to EU up to end of March that AstraZeneca has warned about
Read 6 tweets
28 Jan
The UK Department of Health and Social Care disputes it has banned export of certain medicines incl a number used for treatment of #covid patients. Spokesman says
“Medicines that have been manufactured and intended for markets abroad are not subject to the export restrictions /1
He says:”We have restricted the exporting and hoarding medicines that have been placed on the market in the UK for UK patients to ensure the uninterrupted supply for NHS patients.” These restrictions mainly date back to March /2
The discussion about bans, alleged bans and proposed bans of medicines, equipment and especially vaccines is of course hugely sensitive. The EU has been contemplating an export ban on covid vaccines because of the current row with Astra Zeneca which has informed the EU /3
Read 8 tweets
30 Dec 20
European Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen and European Council Pres Charles Michel (representing the 27 member states) begin the ceremonial signing of the EU-U.K. trade and cooperation agreement soon before the document is then flown to U.K. for PM to sign /1
EU enters new trade relationship in a wary frame of mind. No one I talk to here thinks this’ll be a smooth ride: the EU ever-conscious of protecting single market interests. Downing Street yearning to diverge, they believe /2
Repeatedly when I speak to EU figures about the agreement, they mention the government’s Internal Market Bill with its original clauses contradicting the Brexit divorce deal as to why there’s this wariness here. And why they hope the deal’s dispute mechanisms will be effective /3
Read 4 tweets
24 Dec 20
Eu Commussion Chief holding press conference with chief negotiator Michel Barnier « We have finally found an agreement - a good, fair, balanced deal says von der Leyen
Deal protects EU interests - a solid foundation with a departing friend. Europe will ctn to advance. EU has remained United throughout process says Bon der Leyen
EU rules and standards will be redirected - have tools and mechanisms to react if there is ‘unfair competition’ says von der Leyen - also has 5.5 years of stability for EU fishing communities says von der Leyen
Read 11 tweets
18 Dec 20
Why, you might ask, if the EU priority in negotiations was to protect the single market, is Brussels allowing issue of fish to endanger the whole deal? EU always knew it needed to compromise on fish so che pasa? #Brexit /1
Thing is, level playing field is worth a lot more in monetary and political terms to EU BUT it sounds quite abstract to voters. Fishermen and women losing their jobs, industries dwindling .. that would be very visible very quickly - this elevates importance of fishing rights /2
In coastal countries where governments fear public backlash if it’s perceived they’ve sacrificed national fishing communities for a deal with U.K. /3
Read 7 tweets
16 Dec 20
NEW: Notes of careful optimism in EU off-record briefings .. Not just the public ‘maybe, possibly, but let’s see’ of the European Commission President in front of the European Parliament this morning /1
EU sources saying U.K. has accepted the idea of ‘managed divergence’ in exchange for preferential access to single market. Ie if U.K. divergences from EU standards (which U.K. gov demands as its post #Brexit ‘sovereign right’) then EU has right to retaliate eg with tariffs /2
Obvs right to retaliate would go both ways eg if U.K. views EU businesses as having unfair advantage after Brussels changed standards. Still to be agreed: what mechanism to judge whether unfair advantage exists or not.. EU has accepted it can’t take unilateral action /3
Read 11 tweets

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