Despite the delay in the distribution of vaccines among the 27 Member States, Europe has become one of the main exporters of antidotes against the covid-19 virus worldwide. Since February 1, the date on which the vaccine export control mechanism came into force , the EU has sent more than 34 million doses to 31 countries .
“This confirms that even in this critical health situation, the EU has made a considerable effort to be a reliable and responsible business partner,” said Vice President and Head of Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis .
The main recipient countries during this period have been the United Kingdom (9.1 million doses), Canada (3.9 million), Mexico (3.1 million), Japan (2.7 million), Saudi Arabia (1, 4 million), Hong Kong (1.3 million), Singapore (1 million), United States (1 million), Chile (900,000 doses) and Malaysia (800,000).
In the six weeks that the mechanism has been in place, which obliges pharmaceutical companies with which the EU has signed advance purchase agreements to request authorization, the EU has received 249 export requests.
Of all of them, however, only one request has been rejected: the shipment of 250,000 doses of AstraZeneca from Italy to Australia . The reason put forward by Mario Draghi’s Executive , and supported by the European Commission, is the non-compliance by the Anglo-Swedish company of its agreements with the EU.
And it is that, instead of the more than 100 million doses foreseen in the contract for this first quarter of the year, it will finally deliver less than 10%, as confirmed last Monday by the presidency of the European Commission , Ursula von de Leyen , to THE NEWSPAPER.
This drastic cut and the need to achieve greater transparency and control the destination of vaccines produced in the EU is what led Brussels to launch an authorization mechanism that was to expire on March 12, but whose validity it has decided to extend. for now until the end of June .
The regulation, which has been simplified to group exports to different destinations in the same country in a single application, obliges pharmaceutical companies to request prior export authorization from the customs authorities.
In the petition, they are required to report their exports since last October 30 and the number of vaccines they have distributed in the EU since December 1, as well as their production estimates. With all this information, the Member State in question consults with the European Commission and decides whether to authorize the shipment or reject it.
The main criterion is whether the company is complying with the agreed vaccine deliveries and whether the delays and shortages are similar between the Member States and the destination countries. “Not all companies are meeting their commitments to the EU despite having received an advance paymentto ensure sufficient production.
We will insist on ensuring compliance and will continue to work with all companies to accelerate production in Europe as quickly as possible, “said Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides .
The decision coincided this week with a new clash between London and Brussels on account of the export of vaccines. “I am shocked by the accusations of vaccine nationalism against the EU. The facts do not lie.
The United Kingdom and the United States have imposed a total ban on exports of vaccines or vaccine components produced in their territories,” he lamented earlier in the week. the President of the European Council, Charles Michel .
The European Commission informed the European ambassadors on Wednesday, according to Reuters, that AstraZeneca will not export vaccines from the United States for now. That same day the American president, Joe Biden,He indicated that the government will supply its citizens first and that the remaining vaccines will be shared with other countries.
According to the latest figures published by the European Commission, the 27 have so far received a total of 60.7 million doses of the first three vaccines licensed and manufactured in the EU while 43.12 million have been administered .