Thursday, February 18, 2021

As Britain's cheating on vaccines is revealed, the EU has a duty to react (EN)

There isn't much to add to CNN's revelations about UK's contract with AstraZeneca (AZ) for on covid-19 vaccines, but it's worthwhile summarising the main facts:

  • The British authorities have been apparently trying to keep the deal with AZ as a national security secret, but inadvertently made it available online back in November last year.
  • UK's contract with AZ is very similar to EU's contract, in particular with regard to the "best reasonable efforts" clause. 
  • UK's contract with AZ is officially dated one day after EU's contract with the company.
  • The British contract also mentions that vaccines can be delivered from production sites in the EU, just like the EU contract also lists production sites in the UK.
In brief: no significant difference between the two contracts, whether in respect to the "best reasonable efforts" clause, to the time of concluding the contracts (only a day's difference, with EU's the earlier one) or to the sourcing of the promised supply.
These are explosive revelations and the implications deserve a discussion.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

On vaccines, Europeans are shooting themselves in the foot... again (EN)

After the European Commission's blunder on invoking - even briefly for a couple of hours last Friday - Article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol, which offered a golden opportunity to the UK to pressure the EU into making further post-Brexit accommodations, the Europeans are again scoring an own goal in the vaccines saga.

This time it's not so much about Brussels, but about national leaders and authorities.

The decision by several countries (Germany, France, Portugal, Sweden, Austria, Poland, Belgium... and counting) to limit the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid vaccine to those under 65 (or even under 55 in one country), compounded by statements such as this one by French president Emmanuel Macron, is a big mistake and an act of self-harm on many levels.

It is wrong on the facts. It undermines the EU vaccination strategy and the countries' own vaccination efforts. And it weakens the legal case that the EU has against AstraZeneca for non-performance of their contract to supply vaccines.