Vaccines, the strengthened “mechanism” to block exports is underway. But London and the EU reach an understanding –

With the publication in the Official Gazette, today the new mechanism for transparency comes into force e export authorization outside the Union of anti-Covid vaccines produced in the EU, approved yesterday by the European Commission. It introduces the criteria of “reciprocity” and “proportionality” in the evaluation of the stocks of doses that must leave the EU. The aim is to ensure that Member States and the Commission verify that the exports, for which they are requested, do not pose a threat to the security of supply of vaccines and their components in the Union.

And yesterday evening the agreement arrived for a “mutually advantageous solution on Covid” between the EU and Great Britain, after the protests / accusations from London in Brussels in recent days of wanting to practice vaccine nationalism (but since February they have exited from ‘EU as many as 11 million doses with destination United Kingdom, in the opposite direction zero). “We are all facing the same pandemic and the third wave pays off cooperation between the EU and the UK even more important, “explains a joint note from the Commission and the British government, which speaks of” specific measures “to be taken” in the short, medium and long term to create a win-win situation “. With the new mechanism there was a risk that vaccines destined for the United Kingdom, which is not practicing reciprocity with the EU and the threat seems to have worked, would end up in the crosshairs.

The mechanism, created for the first time in late January to control the flow of doses after AstraZeneca’s announcement of a major cut in supplies with respect to the agreements, provides that a pharmaceutical company with a contract with the EU must submit to export a question to the national authorities, which issue a reasoned opinion and notify it to the Commission, which has the last word (it has one working day to comment). The new regulation will also apply to 17 previously excluded countries, including Switzerland and Israel. So far only Italy has blocked 250,000 doses of AstraZeneca destined for Australia. The strengthening of the export mechanism meets the requests for greater firmness towards non-compliant companies made by Italy and supported by France in the last European Council, and which Germany also agrees. However, there are some countries, such as Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium, which call for caution. Before the announcement of the agreement between London and Brussels, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the Netherlands are ready to “block” the export of vaccines “if the EU Commission requests it”, thus reversing the steps foreseen by the transparency mechanism. The topic of exports will still be on the table of EU leaders in the European Council via videoconference which begins in the afternoon. In the draft of the final declarations, EU leaders reiterate that the acceleration of the “production, delivery and dissemination of vaccines” is “essential” and “we emphasize the importance of transparency and extension of the export authorization regime».

In the evening, the president of the United States, Joe Biden, will also intervene to relaunch the transatlantic alliance. Yesterday, Secretary of State Tony Blinken, in Brussels for the NATO ministerial, ha met with the president of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the High Representative Josep Borrell. «The immediate priority» of the EU-US agenda «is to address the pandemic and its consequences on the economy and on people», said von der Leyen: «We are working together to strengthen the global vaccine supply chain».

March 24, 2021 (change March 24, 2021 | 9:30 pm)

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