‘We’re being punished for doing better!’ French MEP slammed over jab export threats

Vaccine row: Host grills Trillet-Lenoir on UK being 'punished'

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has warned AstraZeneca could face an export ban if it does not fulfil its contract with the EU as the country falls behind on vaccinating citizens. Sky News host Niall Paterson asked: “You can understand given the frustrations that are felt in the EU about the pace of vaccination across Europe. You can understand the frustrations on this side of the Channel that it appears from many, many perspectives in the UK that we are being punished for doing rather better than the EU.”

Ms Trillet-Lenoir said: “I understand and I do not think that. Nobody in Britain is punished.

“I’m very happy that vaccination going well in your country but I think you can agree with me that facing a pandemic, if everybody is not vaccinated, no one is.

“The UK will be very isolated if other European countries and other low-income countries are not protected.

“Our duty as politicians is to make sure that the pandemic is faced at a worldwide level.

“I have concern for the British citizens. They have to receive the second dose and your Prime Minister has to discuss with the firm and the EU to make sure this will be possible.

“You have been vaccinating very quickly in an emergency which I understand but from a medical and scientific point of view, we all have to follow science-based rules and demonstrations.”

It comes as a vote on extending coronavirus laws for a further six months will come to the Commons amid talks between the UK and EU aiming to resolve a dispute over vaccine supplies.

On Thursday, MPs will be asked to approve the regulations for the route out of lockdown and keep some of the emergency powers in the Coronavirus Act in place until September.

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It comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he could see an “end” to the pandemic that would involve managing coronavirus “more like flu” with repeated and updated vaccinations.

EU leaders are set to discuss proposals aimed at tightening restrictions on vaccine exports at a virtual European Council summit, after London and Brussels moved to calm tensions following weeks of ramped up rhetoric.

A joint statement said the two sides were seeking a “win-win” deal to increase supplies across the UK and EU as the bloc’s dispute with AstraZeneca continued.

It comes after the European Commission set out a tougher regime to stem supplies of jabs to nations faring better in the pandemic as the bloc’s states faced a third wave of cases.

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The move could result in supplies of vaccines from the EU to the UK being blocked unless shipments of AstraZeneca jabs also travel from Britain to the continent.

Boris Johnson warned that a “blockade” on vaccines could result in “long-term” damage but said he continued to work with his European partners.

The Prime Minister also suggested to the Commons Liaison Committee that it could be up to landlords to decide if coronavirus certificates are required for pubgoers.

Trade body UKHospitality criticised the prospect of pubs and restaurants being subject to vaccine certificates as “simply unworkable” and said it could cause conflict between staff and customers.

The legislation for restrictions over the coming months, as the Government sets out its road map for coming out of lockdown, will see some restrictions remain in place in England until at least June 21.

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