Stricter export controls for vaccines – Brussels no longer exempt Switzerland

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No more the exemption for Switzerland: The EU Commission is tightening the rule and wants the imports and exports of vaccines to all neighboring countries on the radar.

Take AstraZeneca, for example: The EU accuses the manufacturer of treating Great Britain preferentially and almost not supplying the Union at all.

Take AstraZeneca, for example: The EU accuses the manufacturer of treating Great Britain preferentially and almost not supplying the Union at all.

Photo: Andreas Solaro (AFP)

The EU Commission is tightening the export mechanism for vaccines and Switzerland no longer wants to exempt Switzerland from control. It is about having all imports and exports on the radar, including those to neighboring countries, it was said from EU circles. However, Switzerland has nothing to fear and is important for the vaccine supply chain in Europe: “We see no reason why there should be disruptions here,” says an EU official. Lonza produce in Valais for Moderna, Switzerland is a good example of the desired reciprocity.

The EU should now be able to block the export of vaccines if the third country itself hardly exports any preparations or ingredients at all. In addition to the principle of reciprocity, the criterion of proportionality has also been introduced. For example, exports to countries whose vaccination quota is significantly higher than in the EU could be prohibited.

Controls are not an export ban

The control and transparency mechanism does not mean an export ban, the EU Commission defends itself against corresponding allegations. The EU is the only bloc that exports around the world, while the US has a statutory export ban and UK a de facto export ban would have. Canada and Mexico, for example, have so far obtained vaccines from Europe and not from the USA.

The sights of Brussels, however, are mainly London and the manufacturer AstraZenecawho gives preferential treatment to Great Britain and So far, delivery commitments to the EU have been massively below. So far, ten million vaccine doses have been sent to the UK from the EU, but zero in the other direction. The previous control mechanism has been in force since February 1st. Since then, 380 exports have been approved. Only one delivery was blocked, namely 250,000 cans from AstraZeneca from Italy to Australia. For the EU the proof that the accusation of vaccination protectionism does not apply.

AstraZeneca is said to be hoarding 29 million vaccine doses in a bottling plant in Italy.

The EU Commission imposes the export ban at the request of the Member State concerned. The tightened control mechanism is the subject of the EU summit, which will take place virtually on Thursday and Friday. Berlin, Paris and Rome are pushing for controls to be tightened. The news that AstraZeneca is supposed to hoard 29 million vaccine doses in a bottling plant in Italy should give something to talk about. That is roughly the same amount that the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company has delivered to the EU countries so far. A delivery of 80 million cans has been agreed. Brussels demands information. The message is grist to the mill for proponents of tightening export controls.





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Stricter export controls vaccines Brussels longer exempt Switzerland

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