A German MEP who sits on the European Parliament’s public health committee has told Britain it will pay for AstraZeneca fulfilling its contractual obligations to the United Kingdom at the expense of the European Union.
European politicians are incensed with the Anglo-Swedish company’s CEO Pascal Soriot for telling European reporters that Covid-19 vaccines manufactured in the UK would not be diverted to the bloc to help make up for a shortfall in the European order.
EPP member, Peter Liese has spoken out against AstraZeneca following the interview and called on cuts to be made to orders on both sides of the Channel.
Speaking to German news channel N-TV, Mr Liese said: “After Soriot’s interview, I have the impression, more than ever, that Astrazeneca sees itself as a British company and not as a global company that is also based in Sweden.
“If there are problems, cuts must be made equally everywhere. Not by 60 percent in the EU and not at all in Great Britain, but by 40 percent everywhere, for example.”
The German politician then reportedly told Euronews’ political editor, Darren McCaffrey that Britain “better think twice”, threatening the British government and AstraZeneca with a trade war and using the EU-manufacturered Pfizer vaccine as a bargaining chip.
“People in the United Kingdom are vaccinated with a very good vaccine that is produced in Europe, supported by European money. If there is anyone thinking that European citizens would accept that we give this high quality vaccine to the UK and would accept to be treated as second class by UK based company.
“I think the only consequences can be immediately stop the export of the BioNTech [vaccine] and then we are in the middle of a trade war. So the company and the UK better think twice.”
Mr Liese continued to warn Britain and vaccine manufacturers that if Europeans are treated as “second class, you will suffer for this”.
The United Kingdom has performed far greater than the European Union so far in its vaccination roll-out with 11% of the nation now having received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Meanwhile the European Union average lingers on 2% causing much political frustration across its member states.