THE crumbling European Union has released a statement conceding that claims made by Council President Charles Michel that the UK had an export ban on vaccines, were false.
The EU’s Charles Michel accused the UK on Tuesday of “vaccine nationalism” by banning jab exports – a clear attempt to deflect from rising criticism against the Bloc for seeking to buy vaccines from Russia and communist China, to compete with the UK’s highly successful inoculation drive.
Michel said he was “shocked” to hear the EU also being accused of “vaccine nationalism” after it blocked a shipment of jabs leaving for Australia for Italy last week.
“The EU has never stopped exporting,” he said, accusing Britain and the United States of banning the export of vaccines and vaccine components.
“The facts do not lie. The United Kingdom and the United States have imposed an outright ban on the export of vaccines or vaccine components produced on their territory.
“But the European Union, the region with the largest vaccine production capacity in the world, has simply put in place a system for controlling the export of doses produced in the EU.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson immediately hit out at the lie, confirming that no such ban existed in the UK, with Dominic Raab summoning the EU’s ambassador back to the UK to explain the continued spread of the demonstrable falsehood.
‘Let me be clear,’ Mr Johnson said at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, ‘we have not blocked the export of a single Covid-19 vaccine or vaccine component.’
Mr Johnson told the House of Commons: ‘The whole House can be proud of the UK’s vaccination programme, with over 22.5million people now having received their first dose across the UK.
‘We can also be proud of the support the UK has given to the international Covid response, including the £548 million we have donated to Covax.
‘I therefore wish to correct the suggestion from the European Council president that the UK has blocked vaccine exports.
‘Let me be clear: we have not blocked the export of a single Covid-19 vaccine or vaccine components.
‘This pandemic has put us all on the same side in the battle for global health, we oppose vaccine nationalism in all its forms.’
The foreign secretary then sought to “set the record straight” in a letter to the EU chief on Tuesday evening, writing that “any references to a UK export ban or any restrictions on vaccines are completely false”.
Mr Raab insisted the government “has not blocked a single Covid-19 vaccine or vaccine components”, adding: “We are all facing this pandemic together.”
A European commission spokesman has now officially acknowledged there was no such ban in place, and that the UK were not preventing vaccines being exported – confirming that their President had lied in what appears to be a politically-motivated statement.
In January, the EU briefly attempted to trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement to impose controls on vaccines – later backtracking after fierce global condemnation.
The EU continues to have one of the slowest and least efficient vaccination programs in the world, while the UK is rapidly proving itself to have one of the greatest – a fact that is sure to create further tension between the UK and the failing European union experiment.