French MEP slams 'laughing stock' EU over vaccine rollout
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French Europe Minister Clement Beaune, a close ally of President Emmanuel Macron, accused the Anglo-Swedish firm of “breaches of contract” to supply the bloc with Covid jabs. His comments are the latest in a tit-for-tat row between Brussels and Cambridge-based pharma giant over the shortfall in deliveries to member states. Mr Beaune told Radio Classique: “There are concerns.
“And more than that, probably a number of breaches of contract.
“Europe is not going to be some sort of cuddly ‘care bear’ that hands over its money and expects nothing in return.”
AstraZeneca has slashed its forecasts for the number of coronavirus vaccines it expects to deliver to member states by the end of the month.
The drugs giant expects only 30 million doses, a third of its contractual obligations, according to an internal document.
It will then aim to deliver another 20 million before the end of next month.
Mr Beaune added: “We will defend our interests.
“There may be legal recourse. We are not ruling it out.”
The Frenchman is one of Mr Macron’s most trusted aides and has served as his long-term European adviser.
The Europe minister insisted the bloc “must put pressure” on AstraZeneca to force the firm to deliver more jabs.
He concluded: “We are stronger among Europeans than if France did it alone.
“Before any legal recourse, there is political pressure, or even the board of directors, internally in the company.”
France is one of the main offenders among EU states when it comes to hoarding doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine.
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Paris has been delivered 2.3 million doses of the life-saving jab but only delivered 919,000 of them.
A host of EU nations have decided to suspend use of the Oxford-produced vaccine over unsubstantiated fears it causes blood clots.
Seventeen governments, including France, Germany, Spain and Italy, have all stopped using the shot.
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Nearly 15 million of those doses were supplied by UK-based drugs giant AstraZeneca, with more than 7.5 million of the unused vaccines now sitting unused in fridges across the bloc.
France and Germany, who have been blamed for the mass revolt, were found to be the worst offenders, having used less than half of their supplies of the Oxford jab.
In total, EU governments have used just 48 million doses out of the 62.2 million delivered to them, according to official data published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
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