Jeremy Vine: Nana Akua criticises EU over ‘sheer hypocrisy’
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European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, who is under pressure over the EU’s relatively poor vaccine rollout, has ramped up the rhetoric this weekend, saying the EU has the power to “forbid” exports. Commentator Nana Akua has warned it is “dangerous” for the bloc to act like this. Speaking to the Jeremy Vine Show, Ms Akua said: “The sheer hypocrisy.
“They didn’t talk about the jab because of the potential link with a very small amount of people who had blood clots which is actually no more than the number in the population.
“Now they’ve decided they’ve got to stockpile.
“They’ve decided they’re not going to allow the jabs to leave their shores.
“This is very bad for them in terms of the impact it’s going to have on other countries who are looking at them thinking, ‘they don’t look like a good trading partner’.
“What’s the reason for the EU?
“The EU is for trade, the movement on people and those are the very things that have been impacted by Covid and they’re just not covering themselves in any good light at all.
“It makes no sense and I think it’s very dangerous.”
It comes as European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer insisted Brussels was not set on “banning vaccine exports” but wanted pharmaceutical firms to meet their contractual obligations to the bloc.
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The European Union’s vaccination campaign is lagging behind the UK’s and commission president Ursula von der Leyen has claimed AstraZeneca has “underproduced and underdelivered” vaccines for the bloc.
Mr Mamer told reporters in Brussels: “The president has given our view of what the situation is and what are the objectives that we are following.
“This is not about banning vaccine exports, this is about making sure that companies deliver on their commitments to the member states and the European Union that are inscribed in the contracts that they have with us.
“Therefore, this is our objective, to make sure that the contracts that we have signed are respected.
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“In that context, the president has said that, of course, we see that, actually, companies that manufacture doses in the EU have been exporting very widely – which is in itself a good thing – but that we want to see reciprocity and proportionality in these exports.”
Britain on Monday demanded that the European Union allow the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines it has ordered as tensions over a possible ban on EU-manufactured shots mounted, but Brussels said drugmaker AstraZeneca was to blame.
“The UK is not to blame. The EU is not to blame,” said an EU official. “It’s about everyone finding an agreement with a company that has been over-selling its production capacity. AstraZeneca has to deliver doses to its EU customers.”
After falling far behind post-Brexit Britain and the United States in rolling out vaccines, the EU’s leaders are due to discuss imposing a ban on vaccine exports to Britain at a summit on Thursday.
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