New ‘cooperative’ tone over vaccines in EU, MEP says

covid-vaccine
New ‘Cooperative’ Tone Over Vaccines In Eu, Mep Says New ‘Cooperative’ Tone Over Vaccines In Eu, Mep Says
The EU appeared to reach a truce with the United Kingdom on Wednesday night over vaccine supplies. Photo: PA Images.
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Vivienne Clarke

There has been a new “cooperative” tone in talks over European Union vaccine supplies in recent days, according to an Irish MEP.

Frances Fitzgerald told Newstalk Breakfast that “the mood music is changing” despite a current supply choke point.

The Fine Gael MEP said that the threat of an export ban on vaccines by the EU is a “reserve position”.

It does not fit well with the EU to be discussing bans, she said. The EU has received 380 Covid-19 vaccine export requests to 33 countries, and had turned down only one.

Her comments came after the EU appeared to reach a truce with the United Kingdom on Wednesday night over vaccine supplies, with the sides saying in a joint statement that they were seeking a “win-win” deal to increase supplies across the EU and UK.

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Earlier on Wednesday, the European Commission had revealed plans to place tougher controls on doses being sent abroad to countries such as the UK with substantially higher vaccination rates.

Ms Fitzgerald said the EU was taking a global approach to the pandemic and supply of vaccines and expected the same approach from others, however, the UK was not responding with the same level of reciprocity.

“The EU felt very let down by the UK,” she said.

The MEP also pointed out that the EU had facilitated the supply of vaccines to 93 countries through Covax, while there had been no transparency by the UK about what they had done.

Later today, the Taoiseach will meet with members of the European Council via video conference to discuss the current Covid-19 situation in the bloc.

The leaders will take stock of the vaccine rollout of each country along with the epidemiological situation, and discuss how to respond appropriately to the pandemic crisis.

They will vote on whether to expand restrictions on exporting jabs abroad to countries such as the UK.

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