EU wants reciprocity with UK over AstraZeneca vaccine, says French minister

French Europe Minister Clement Beaune said on Tuesday that the European Union wanted reciprocity with Britain over the supply of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said AstraZeneca could face a ban on exports for the EU of doses if it did not meet its delivery obligations to the bloc.

“We are telling AstraZeneca: we can understand you have production issues but there is no reason for Europe to be the adjustment variable,” Beaune told France Info radio.

“We want to avoid that AstraZeneca doses produced in Europe go to Britain when we are not receiving anything. We want to make sure the reciprocity principle applies,” the minister said.

“AstraZeneca says: I am experiencing delays, we say: mobilise your plants for us and if you don’t, we will block exports to the UK. We will discuss that on Thursday and Friday at the European Council,” he added.

French Junior Economy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told BFM television on Tuesday that it was up to AstraZeneca to act.

“We must find a solution so that AstraZeneca progressively returns to supply levels initially specified in their contracts. One can understand they face industrial hurdles but one cannot understand differences in treatment between various areas,” she said.

“AstraZeneca has two large plants in Europe from which it can supply us and it has plants in other zones. It is up to them to propose an action plan,” she added.

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