EU blasted over ‘devious’ coronavirus vaccine war threat as rollout branded ‘pathetic’

EU warned of 'retaliation' from UK on vaccine export ban

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Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she would no longer tolerate jabs being produced in Europe to be shipped to the UK while member states faced shortages. She later tried to justify her warning by saying the bloc is trying to avoid exports of the AstraZeneca jab, developed in collaboration with Oxford University, until the firm had “fulfilled its part of the deal toward Europe”.

In an article for Mail Online, Remainer and broadcaster John Humphrys hit out at the EU’s threat.

The BBC presenter also hailed Britain’s immunisation drive as a success.

He wrote: “It’s one thing for the bureaucrats of Brussels or Whitehall to squabble over the finer details of how the Northern Ireland border might (or might not) operate.

“It’s something else again for the EU – led by the risible figure of Ursula von der Leyen – to threaten a vaccine war with the United Kingdom.

“It is a threat that seems to have little justification other than to distract attention from the EU’s own pathetic failure to procure the jabs that are needed for the EU’s own citizens and deliver them speedily to those most at risk.

“It is both shameful and devious to try to blame Britain for having succeeded so magnificently where the EU has failed.

“Boris Johnson, who looked so careworn when he appeared before the media this week – as well he might – must be thanking his lucky stars for President von der Leyen’s performance.”

Mr Humphrys’ is one of the latest figures to join critics denouncing Ms Von der Leyen’s actions.

Former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib told Express.co.uk: “We asked the EU to ease the pressure on our fishermen so that they may export to the EU what they had been exporting until the end of December.

“Without any rational justification, the EU declined – even though they freely fish our waters and take the very same fish.

“We asked the EU to ease the pressure on the people of Northern Ireland by extending grace periods for ‘exports’ from Great Britain.

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“Without any rational justification, the EU declined – it is now taking legal action against the UK in this matter.”

He added: “We expected the EU not to interfere in commercial arrangements between the British government and a British firm for a British vaccine but they did.

“They even invoked Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol to put a ‘hard’ border on the island of Ireland to get their way.”

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