[Global Times correspondent Chen Kangliu Yupeng] on January 30, local time, the European Union lifted its control on the export of new crown vaccines in Northern Ireland. A few hours earlier, the European Union officially announced that it would control the export of new crown vaccines produced in member countries, including Northern Ireland, which is regarded as a free trade zone of the European Union, in order to prevent new crown vaccines supplied to the European Union from entering other parts of the UK through the “back door” of Northern Ireland. The EU’s move immediately triggered a lot of controversy, especially the strong dissatisfaction of Northern Ireland, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland even denounced it as an “unbelievable act of hostility” by the European Union. Under the pressure of all parties, the EU withdrew the relevant decision. In response, the British media and politicians cheered that Britain had won the “vaccine victory”. However, according to CNN, the fight for vaccines between the European Union and the United Kingdom reveals the ugly truth of “vaccine nationalism”. These two rich economies are competing for vaccines so much that many poor countries do not even have a single dose of vaccine.
On the evening of January 29, the European Union, which has been worried about the reduction of the supply of new crown vaccines to the European Union by the factories of AstraZeneca and Pfizer, announced that it would restrict the export of new crown vaccines from the European Union to Northern Ireland in accordance with Article 16 of the “brexit” agreement signed between the European Union and the United Kingdom, which concerns the border between Northern Ireland and other regions of the United Kingdom. According to the “brexit” agreement signed by the EU and the UK, although the UK has “brexit”, the Northern Ireland of the UK still remains in the EU free trade area, and goods can flow freely between other EU countries and Northern Ireland. However, this time, because the European Union is worried that Northern Ireland will become the “back door” for the delivery of new vaccines produced in the European Union to other parts of the UK, it will simply restrict the export of vaccines to Northern Ireland. At the same time, the EU also announced the implementation of the “vaccine export transparency mechanism” on the 29th. The mechanism requires that all companies producing vaccines in the EU should obtain the permission of the EU when exporting vaccines outside the EU. The EU explained that this mechanism is not an export ban, and its purpose is to ensure the transparency of vaccine exports, so that EU member states can get the vaccines they ordered in time.
The move immediately angered the governments of Northern Ireland, Ireland and the UK. “By triggering Article 16 in this way, the EU once again shows that it is ready to use Northern Ireland in the most despicable way – not to provide a life-saving vaccine,” chief minister Foster said in an interview Foster had a conversation with British Prime Minister Johnson for the first time. She called for a “strong response” from Downing Street.
British Prime Minister Johnson has had a long talk with European Commission President Frederick von draen, “expressing serious concern about the possible impact of EU measures on vaccine exports,” a spokesman for Downing Street on the 29th said in a statement. The Prime Minister stressed Britain’s enduring commitment to the Northern Ireland agreement, saying that the EU must urgently clarify its intention And planned steps to ensure that its commitment to Northern Ireland is fully fulfilled. “. The BBC said Johnson had a “seven hour telephone argument” with Frederick von draen, and the Sunday Times quoted a senior British official as saying Johnson’s words on the phone were “quite stimulating.”.
Irish Prime Minister Martin also had a phone call with Frederick von draen on the same day. An Irish government source said that the Irish government is deeply dissatisfied with the EU’s action, saying it is “totally unnecessary” and may have “explosive political influence”.
Due to strong protests, the EU lifted restrictions on vaccine exports to Northern Ireland on the 30th, but still stipulated that all vaccines transported to Northern Ireland via Ireland must be registered in quantity.
“Britain’s double victory”?
The British media immediately cheered “victory” for the EU’s retreat. Britain’s “Observer” said on the 31st that the EU’s “mistake” has re triggered the political dispute about Northern Ireland’s status after Britain’s “brexit”. According to the report, some conservative politicians in the UK are planning to take advantage of the EU’s “mistake” to demand “comprehensive reform” of the “brexit” agreement. The Sunday people also hailed the vaccine victory, saying it was a “day of hope” for Britain after a “hellish year”. The headline on the front page of the Sunday post called it “Johnson’s double win.”. Britain has forced the European Union to make extraordinary concessions on the issue of vaccines, and British people have been vaccinated with 8.4 million doses, the newspaper said.
However, many British people said on social media that this was not a victory at all. On the 30th, 23275 new confirmed cases and 1200 new deaths were recorded in the UK, with a total of 105571 deaths, making it the country with the highest mortality rate in the world.
At the same time, the European Union is beset with difficulties at home and abroad, and even von der lain’s German compatriots are blaming her. CNBC of the United States said that the governor of Bavaria Zede, who is considered to be Merkel’s most likely successor, criticized the European Commission for “giving orders too late, and only betting on a few vaccine companies, completely underestimating the severity of the epidemic.”. Schneider, chairman of Germany’s left-wing Social Democratic Party, accused that “vaccination is the only way for the EU to get out of the crisis, which must be the responsibility of the leaders.” The vaccine dispute between the EU and the UK has frustrated European countries and will further affect vaccination, according to Spain’s EFI news agency. At present, countries such as France, Spain and Portugal have been forced to stop vaccination. At present, only 2.1% of the population is vaccinated in Germany, and only more than 1% in the Netherlands.
In the face of the vaccine crisis, the EU and everyone are enemies, according to the news agency. Von drein was “knocked down” under great pressure. The EU, which had been accused of being too slow, is now making things worse by being too hasty. The incident has dealt a blow to the EU’s image as a defender of open markets and the rule of law, and its moral authority is being torn apart.
“The ugly truth”
“The vaccine fight between the EU and the UK reveals the ugly truth of vaccine nationalism.” CNN said that when the United Nations General Assembly was held in September last year, world leaders called for global unity, and they learned from the damage caused by the accumulation of anti epidemic equipment by many countries. They said that when the vaccine was developed, all the most vulnerable people in the world would be the first to be vaccinated. However, now that the vaccine has been developed, there is no unity. The “ugly vaccine nationalism” that the who is worried about is really unfolding in Europe, which is known as the world’s most egalitarian. At the same time, many poor countries have not started vaccination so far. According to the report, the UK has ordered 360 million doses of vaccine and plans to purchase another 150 million doses from Johnson & Johnson, which is enough for four rounds of vaccination (two doses for one person). The European Union has also ordered 1.6 billion doses of vaccine.
Regarding the competition between Britain and Europe for vaccines, who assistant director general Simon said on the 29th that the EU’s restrictions on vaccine exports are worrying, which will hinder the free circulation of the global supply chain for manufacturing vaccines, diagnostic reagents and essential ingredients of drugs. In an interview with the BBC, who spokesman Harris called on the UK not to continue the vaccination program after vaccination for high-risk groups, so as to distribute the vaccine fairly to the world. She said the British people “can wait” because “it is morally and economically right to distribute the vaccine fairly to the world.”. However, most analysts are pessimistic about whether this call can be realized.
“The EU should not be biased and should consider using vaccines from Russia and China.” “Russia today” website said on the 30th that Fischer, the French government’s senior coordinator in charge of the vaccination program, said in an interview with BFM television that if the safety and effectiveness are proved, Brussels has no reason not to consider using Russian or Chinese vaccines. He said the EU should consider all available vaccines and “should not be biased against vaccine production.”.
The EU should consider opening up vaccines from Russia and China, the German health minister was quoted as saying by the German news agency on the 31st. If Russia and China’s vaccines are approved by the European Union, Germany will also approve their use, said Mr. span.
Hungary has ordered 5 million doses of Chinese vaccine, becoming the first country in the European Union to receive Chinese vaccine, Austria’s Vienna Daily said on the 31st. The report also said that in Europe, in addition to the UK, the country with the highest vaccination rate is Serbia, which is also due to the help of China’s vaccine.