EU’s attempts to restrict vaccines compared to ‘Putin on a bad day’ in scathing takedown
Vaccine row: Von der Leyen compared to ‘Putin’ by former MEP
Alex Phillips, a former Brexit Party MEP, went after the EU with both barrels over their vaccination rollout errors. Ms Phllip dismantled the distribution row that erupted between the bloc and AstraZeneca last week and highlighted how the bloc misled citizens about the vaccines’ functionality before then approving it. The Union’s actions were then compared to ones made by Vladimir Putin, who is known for his underhanded political moves.
Speaking to Mike Graham on talkRADIO about the EU triggering Article 16, the politician said: “It was a matter of hours, wasn’t it, before Ursula von der Leyen decided that no it was an administrative error and she didn’t mean to do it.
“She hadn’t informed Ireland, she hadn’t informed any member states, and what people are actually saying, who are close to her, is actually the EU Commission acted rather unilaterally.
“But it was shocking, it was a massive diplomatic error. But that’s not it, you will remember she also ordered that production sites and laboratories in Brussels were raided by the police because she got obsessed with the idea that stocks made for the EU were actually going to the UK, which isn’t actually true.
“She went on an attack on Pfizer to prevent them exporting vaccines to the UK when actually her beef was with AstraZeneca.
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“They lied then about the vaccine not working and a few minutes later they approved it, they lied about paying for certain developments for AstraZeneca which they said they never received that money.
“They lied about the nature of the contract and this ‘best endeavours clause’.
“It’s the sort of behaviour that international commentators would think worthy of Putin on a bad day.”
The AstraZeneca contract was disputed by the EU who argued the firm would be required to complete their contractual obligations no matter what.
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However, a redacted copy of the contract was released which said British-Swedish company would make “best reasonable efforts” to fulfil the contract.
This phrase, despite appearing unimportant, means AstraZeneca did not have a watertight promise to provide the EU with their doses even though they believe they did.
The pharmaceutical firm has blamed issues at their production sites as the reason for the disruptions
They promise to deliver 400 million doses to the EU with 100 million extra available and another nine million added on due to ongoing issues.
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Last week, the EU triggered Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol which would have put a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
As part of the Protocol, Northern Ireland remains in the Customs Union meaning goods travel through the country like they did when the UK was still part of the EU.
The article was triggered to monitor goods and to prevent vaccines from entering the UK via a “backdoor”.
The move was quickly rescinded after widespread condemnation.
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