France accuses UK of blackmail over vaccine supplies
PRETORIA - France Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has accused the United Kingdom (UK) of blackmail over supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the BBC reported.
RTE News reported that European Union countries complained that they were not receiving supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine, meanwhile, its has been alleged that the UK has been getting more than its fair share of the supplies.
The Irish broadcaster cited the UK denying the accusation saying it does not believe in imposing vaccine blockades and that the EU must allow Covid-19 vaccine contracts to be fulfilled.
The BBC said vaccine rollouts have started sluggishly across the bloc, meanwhile, the UK's vaccination drive, has so far been more successful than that of the EU's 27 member states.
The British drafted a chart showing that in 100 people, 48 have been inoculated in the UK, meanwhile in some EU countries, only 25 to 14 have received the jab.
"We need to achieve a relationship of cooperation with the United Kingdom so AstraZeneca fulfils its commitments, signed with the European Union, and everyone gets what they need," RTE News quoted Drian saying during an interview with France Info television.
"But one cannot play like that, a kind of blackmail, where you wanted to vaccinate with all your might with the first dose and then you find yourself handicapped with the second doses. It's not for Europe to bear the cost of this policy."
Standard UK said France has called for the EU to implement tougher export controls.
In a video posted on Twitter, EU President, President Ursula von der Leyen, the EU will make sure Europeans get their fair share of vaccines and continue supporting vaccination across the world.
"The company has to catch up, [it] has to honour the contract it has with European member states, before it can engage again in exporting vaccines," the BBC quoted the EU President saying.
– African News Agency (ANA)