Brussels, 10 (Europe Press)
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, raised the ire of the British government after he was accused of obstructing the export of vaccines that should be destined for the European Union countries, an assumption that London categorically rejects, and for which he wanted to call the representative. From the European Union in the country, João Vale de Almeida, although in the end there will be a meeting at a lower level.
In a post on his blog, Michel wanted to respond to criticisms accusing the European Union of developing “vaccine nationalism” for how it is managing the response to the epidemic and the ban on AstraZeneca’s exports as long as it does not comply with the agreed distribution of 27.
“The facts do not lie. The United Kingdom and the United States imposed a comprehensive ban on the export of vaccines or vaccine components produced in their territories,” the former Belgian Prime Minister said, without providing accurate figures on the impact of these measures on the European Union.
The UK responded through a spokesperson to clarify that “any reference to the UK ban or restrictions on vaccines is completely false”. He concluded that combating the Coronavirus is a “global” challenge that requires international cooperation in order to develop vaccines.
This message was also conveyed more formally in a letter to Michael on Tuesday signed by the UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, although the Council Chair’s team did not want to confirm receipt of the text or comment for the time being. Content.
The anxiety of Boris Johnson’s government overcame denial and wanted to summon the European Union representative to the United Kingdom, João Vale de Almeida, although in the end the meeting would be between the Chargé d’Affairs of the European Commission, Nicole Manion and the Permanent Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, the Commonwealth and Development Philip Barton.
European sources indicate that the ambassador is not in London at the moment, but they also confirm with irony that London will have difficulty summoning the ambassador because the British government is refusing to recognize him as such because it wants to reduce his status to a representative. International body.
This is not the first time that the European Union has proposed that the neighboring country, which has just emerged from the European Union, place obstacles to the departure of the vaccine groups for the 27.
At the end of the last summit of European Union leaders on February 25, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in response to a question at a press conference, said that both the United Kingdom and the United States have mechanisms to prevent these exports.
The comment did not like the other side of the English Channel either, but the tension was never made public, as according to British sources who explained to Europa Press, they transmitted the annoyance “privately” to the executive community, to avoid publicly creating controversy for some of the statements they consider ” More ambiguous, “than Michel’s comments.