PMQs: Boris Johnson rejects EU’s claim about vaccine exports
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The European Council President this week sparked outrage in Downing Street after he accused the Government of slapping an “outright ban” on drugs giants from sending their jabs abroad. His remarks prompted a high-level intervention from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who insisted Britain had not blocked any exports and opposes “vaccine nationalism”. Despite this, Mr Michel, the EU’s most senior official, has continued to push his claim that Britain is preventing vaccines from leaving our shores.
In a new interview, he said: “Nobody can deny the fact that in Europe, we export a lot of doses.
“There is a question: they said that they didn’t decide a ban in the UK. We know, and I know because I am a politician, that there are different ways to impose a ban or to impose restrictions on vaccinet and/or on medicines, because on medicines there is a clear ban.
“But the question is the following: how many doses did they export? This is a very simple question, and since yesterday I haven’t heard the answer to this very simple question.”
While threatening to blow-up an already fractious relationship between the UK and EU, Mr Michel insisted he wanted to maintain positive relations but refused to apologise for his remarks.
The eurocrat instead challenged Downing Street to publish its vaccine export figures.
“I confirm what I said because there are different ways to impose a limitation or a ban,” Mr Michel told the Politico website.
“There are different ways, not only via one executive order or via one legislation. There are different ways. And I repeat, it’s very simple, one certainty and one question.
“What’s certain: Europe is a continent which exports a lot of doses, that’s why I wrote it very clearly. It’s unfair to attack the European Union on this topic, saying that we would choose vaccination nationalism or protectionism. This is not the truth.
“The facts are the facts. At a certain point, it’s my call for more transparency. How many doses did they export?”
He added: “I saw yesterday evening some reactions but I didn’t see and I haven’t seen how many doses they export outside of the UK.
“How many doses did they send to Europe or to third countries? Not only to Europe, it’s not just a question for Europe.”
Scheming eurocrats leaked the bloc’s latest vaccine export data yet, in what Whitehall officials branded a misleading attack on Britain’s jabs programme.
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An internal Brussels memo, seen by Express.co.uk, showed that European vaccine makers have shipped 34 million doses abroad since the beginning of February.
Most of the 9.1 million jabs sent to Britain were made at Pfizer’s Belgian production facility.
Between February 1 and March 3, Brussels sanctioned 257 vaccine exports and blocked one 250,000-strong shipment to Australia.
Spiteful EU officials complained that Britain hadn’t exported any doses to the bloc during that period, but ignored our firms playing a leading role in supplying ingredients to Pfizer’s production hub in Belgium.
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Unlike the EU, Britain does not have legislation in place to block firms from sending vaccines abroad.
Brussels claims Britain’s contract with AstraZeneca, which gives us first refusal of domestic-made jabs, is “tantamount to an export ban”.
But Government insiders insisted UK taxpayers invested around £88 million to ensure the Oxford-produced vaccine can be manufactured on a not-for-profit basis around the world.
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