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Home / World / Italy uses EU powers to ban exports of Covid-19 vaccine to Australia for the first time

Italy uses EU powers to ban exports of Covid-19 vaccine to Australia for the first time



Paola Ansuini, spokesman for Italian Prime Minister Draghi, confirmed the move, adding that Italy and the European Commission have reached an agreement on this action. This is the first time such EU measures have been used for vaccines.

This story was originally reported by the Financial Times.

In late January, an open and fierce battle broke out between the European Union and AstraZeneca over vaccine delays. The company previously informed the European Union that the organization would provide tens of millions of doses less than the dose agreed at the end of March.

The European Commission subsequently adopted new measures, in some cases, empowering member states to restrict the export of Covid-1

9 vaccine outside the European Union. This mechanism should not affect humanitarian assistance or COVAX, a global initiative aimed at distributing about 2 billion vaccines to poorer countries.

The vaccine promotion work of the 27-nation group continues to falter, forcing some increasingly frustrated member states to turn to backward countries for assistance. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), only 5.5% of the 447 million EU population received the first dose of vaccine.

On Thursday, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained its decision to ban AstraZeneca from exporting vaccines on the grounds that the company delayed the supply of vaccines to Italy and the European Union, and pointed out that Australia is not considered a “vulnerable” country by the European Union.

According to the ministry’s statement, Italy had previously authorized the company to export “a limited number of samples for scientific research activities,” but because 250,700 doses were involved, the problematic installation was marked.

The statement stated: “Compared with the vaccine doses provided to Italy and more generally to EU countries, the vaccine doses required by export licenses are higher.

AstraZeneca declined to comment on Italy’s decision.

EU officials told CNN on Thursday that the European Commission “does not oppose” Italy’s decision to impose an export ban on Australian vaccines.

The official is closely related to the trade process within the Commission, but is not authorized to speak on the minutes of closed-door meetings between the Commission and EU member states or trade documents.

According to EU procedures, companies that want to export vaccines from EU member states must notify that member state. Member states check export standards and make a draft decision on whether to approve export. Then, the European Commission has one working day to approve, modify or reject the decision of the member state. The member states must follow the committee’s decision.

EU officials told CNN that EU member states have approved 174 vaccine export license applications between January 30 and March 1, 2021.

“Exports involve the following export destinations: Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Japan, Kuwait, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines , Qatar, the Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay.” The official said.

Nicola Ruotolo is from Rome, James Frater is from London, and Zamira Rahim writes in London.


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