At the end of January, the European Union started export controls for corona vaccines. The focus is on manufacturers who do not meet their EU delivery obligations. Now it is Astrazeneca.
Brussels / Rome (dpa) – For the first time, the export of corona vaccines from the European Union to a third country has stopped.
Italy prevented the delivery of 250,000 doses of vaccine from the British-Swedish manufacturer Astrazeneca to Australia, as confirmed by EU circles. First the “Financial Times” reported about it.
The basis is an export control system that was introduced at the end of January. According to this, pharmaceutical companies that have delivery obligations to the EU must apply for export licenses for vaccines produced in the EU. If manufacturers unduly disadvantage the EU in terms of delivery quantities, permits can be denied. Astrazeneca had drastically reduced its contracted delivery volume to the EU in the first quarter, causing widespread discontent.
Exports to a number of partner and developing countries are excluded from the system. Partner countries include Switzerland, Israel and Ukraine, but not Great Britain and Canada. The EU Member State where the vaccines intended for export are produced is responsible for the export permits. EU states ask for the opinion of the EU Commission before taking any decisions.
In the present case, according to information provided by dpa, Rome and Brussels were in agreement. A number of other export requests from other companies had previously been approved, most from Biontech / Pfizer, which supplies many countries from Europe.
Unlike Biontech / Pfizer and Moderna, Astrazeneca has not yet supplied the EU with the contractually promised quantities of vaccines. The company reduced the quantity for the first quarter from 80 million to 40 million cans. It was suspected that vaccines produced in the EU were being transported to third countries. That was the reason for the introduction of the export mechanism.
Export restrictions are politically sensitive to the EU. Because it is desirable for pharmaceutical companies to produce in Europe and set up new locations here. And it is recognized that the companies have delivery obligations to other countries. The European Commission therefore emphasizes the line that as long as contracts with the EU are complied with, exports will not be stopped. Rather, much is supplied from the EU to third countries, while nothing or almost nothing is supplied from the US and Great Britain.
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