Saturday, June 22, 2024

EU Reverse Decision Over Vaccine Export Gaffe Amid Outcry

European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen has expressed regret for creating a row with Britain last month when the bloc briefly considered applying an emergency restriction on exports of COVID-19 vaccines also to the U.K.’s Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the European Parliament on Wednesday, European Union top official Ursula von der Leyen said she was sorry for the confusion.

“The bottom line is that mistakes were made in the process leading up to the decision,” von der Leyen said. “And I deeply regret that. But in the end we got it right.”

Von der Leyen spoke a day after Britain’s chief Brexit minister said that relations between the United Kingdom and the EU have suffered from turbulence since their economic divorce six weeks ago,

Britain left the EU politically just over a year ago, and quit the bloc’s economic structures on Dec. 31. Since then, customs and veterinary checks have been imposed on goods moving between Britain and EU member nations — and on some British goods going to Northern Ireland because it shares a border with Ireland.

Northern Ireland authorities halted veterinary checks and withdrew border staff from ports for several days this month after threatening graffiti appeared referring to port workers as targets.

Von der Leyen added that the EU’s executive arm would do its “utmost to protect the peace of Norther Ireland, just as it has done through the entire Brexit process.

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