‘Time to punch back!’ Boris urged to ban EU fishermen from UK waters if vaccines blocked

EU slammed by Martin Daubney on coronavirus vaccine rollout

Brussels’ has been dealt another huge blow by the news Covid vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca will not be able to meet dosage demands to the EU for several weeks due to production issues at plants in the Netherlands and Belgium. Vaccination centres in Germany, France and Spain have postponed or even cancelled Covid vaccine jab appointments, while Brussels has also publicly lashed out at vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca for failing to deliver its agreed allocation.

The company was supposed to be delivering around 80million doses of its vaccine to the EU by the end of this month but has warned the major production issues mean it will miss this target.

The pharmaceutical giant is understood to have offered the EU 60 percent fewer doses, about 50 million jabs, than initially promised, sparking a furious reaction from Brussels, who have warned AstraZeneca must honour its commitments and suggested it do so by diverting stock from the UK.

The EU has threatened to restrict exports of vaccines made within the bloc, which includes the jab from Pfizer, in order to manage the shortfall and should this happen, the UK could see its vaccination effort severely impacted as millions of people await the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

During Brexit negotiations last year, the issue around how much access EU fishermen should be allowed in UK waters repeatedly threatened to collapse any hopes of a trade deal.

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The latest Express.co.uk poll, which ran from 11.30am until 9pm on Thursday January 28, asked: “Should EU fishermen be banned from UK waters if Brussels blocks Covid vaccines?”

A huge 98 percent (6,481 readers) have backed the UK to make the move. The remaining two percent (1562 readers) disagreed, while less than one percent (15 readers) were undecided.

One person raged: “For far too long in these negotiations the UK has been a punch bag of the immature EU.

“If they want a row, time to let them know we will punch back.”

A second reader said: “EU fishing boats should be banned from UK waters regardless of the COVID vaccine issue.

“The vaccine issue is showing again that the EU cannot be trusted as they will always rip up any agreements if it suits them.”

Another person commented: “If the EU are happy to force AstraZeneca to break a contract with the UK, it shows the EU does not respect contracts.

“So why should respect any deals/contracts we have made with the EU?”

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A fourth reader added: “We should dump the whole EU deal!

“Bullies should not be treated as reasonable human beings to be respected.”

German MEP Peter Liese has suggested the vaccine export ban is a very strong possibility and could be enacted by Brussels.

He told German broadcaster N-TV: “If we are not treated fairly, we must also impose an export ban.

“Then the UK will no longer get the BioNtech Pfizer vaccine.

“Nobody wants a vaccination war. But the EU has more leverage here.”

A Brussels official told Reuters EU rules on monitoring and authorising exports of Covid vaccines in the bloc could see exports blocked if they broke existing contracts between the vaccine maker and Brussels.

European Council President Charles Michel wrote a letter to four EU leaders on January 27 stating the bloc should explore legal means to ensure supplies of COVID-19 vaccines it contracted to buy if talks with companies over delayed deliveries continue to prove unsuccessful.

He said: “If no satisfactory solution can be found, I believe we should explore all options and make use of all legal means and enforcement measures at our disposal under the Treaties.”

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