The EU has started formal legal action against the UK over the government decision to unilaterally delay checks on some goods coming into NIreland from Great Britain. The European Commission accuses the U.K. of breaking international law - the Brexit deal signed by both sides /1
Today the PM said the decision to delay some border checks constituted “temporary and technical measures” which were “very sensible.” Downing Street has said the move was “lawful and necessary” to ensure food continues to flow onto supermarket shelves in Northern Ireland /2
The EU case could lead to a judgment by the European Court of Justice, even though the UK has left the EU. The case is likely to take months or years to process and could result in a fine or sanctions imposed on British goods /3
BUT both the U.K. government and the EU have signalled they hope the issue can be resolved well before that - through dialogue in the coming weeks /4

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More from @BBCkatyaadler

4 Mar
EU official dismisses attempts to “try to make the EU look like the bad guys for blocking the export of vaccines from pharma companies that haven’t honoured their contractual obligations with the EU” /1
Defending Italy’s controversial move today to bloc 250,000 AZ vaccines going to Australia, the official said “Zero” AstraZeneca vaccines had been exported to EU from the 2 factories in the U.K. He added that US had a de facto ban on vaccine exports in place but /2
He said the EU allowed many exports of vaccines out of the bloc. He countered my question about whether blocking exports wld damage the EU’s reputation internationally and insisted “other countries” (outside EU) were skilled at glossing over their own de facto export bans /3
Read 4 tweets
2 Feb
Angela Merkel has just admitted on German public broadcaster ARD that it ‘rankles’ that U.K., US and Israel are vaccinating faster than EU countries but she insisted that nothing went wrong with the bloc’s procurement of vaccines /1
Britain, she said, had given an emergency approval to the Astra Zeneca vaccine within 24 hours but the EU had decided against that because, she said, countries depended on the trust of their citizens /2
Chancellor Merkel said in interview the EU wouldn’t have got more vaccines if it had offered more money to pharmaceutical companies. She said every vaccine is welcome in the EU as long as it’s approved by the European Medicines Agency /3
Read 5 tweets
2 Feb
On German public broadcaster ARD just now Angela Merkel refused to accept criticism of the EU vaccine approval process. She defended the EU decision to go slower saying it was a matter of trust and attention to detail. She was asked about supply too /1
Whether - if the EU had been willing to pay more - it could have got more jabs and faster. Did national interest play a role she was asked: eg France wanting to favour the Sanofi vaccine? Merkel said no. She focused on the Pfizer vaccine in her answer, saying /2
The US exported virtually none of the Pfizer vaccine it produced so Europe was reliant on its own production plants, she said. She said that these were in the process of being added to /3
Read 5 tweets
2 Feb
The EU Commission denies President von der Leyen “attacked”’the U.K. over its vaccine approval policy.
In an interview with a number of European papers she was asked about the slower approval by the European Medicines Agency of vaccines compared to countries eg U.K. but /1
The Commission says von der Leyen answered the question comparing two methods. Not singling out the U.K.
Journalists in the room report the same Eg… and… /2
Von der Leyen is quoted as saying “Some countries started to vaccinate a little before Europe, it is true,” “But they resorted to emergency, 24-hour marketing authorisation procedures. The commission and the member states agreed not to compromise with the safety and efficacy..“/3
Read 6 tweets
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
29 Jan
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
Read 5 tweets

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