EU chief ‘regrets’ bid to check vaccine exports on Irish-UK border
Brussels, Feb 10 (efe-epa).- The president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday said the EU made mistakes in its hasty effort to control vaccine exports amid a spat with pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca late last month.
The EU triggered an emergency article that would have forced controls at the sensitive border between the Republic of Ireland, an EU member, and Northern Ireland, a UK territory, during a row over an order shortfall with the Anglo-Swedish firm.
“As far as the mechanism goes, allow me a word on the island of Ireland. The bottom line is that mistakes were made in the process leading up to the decision, and I deeply regret that,” von der Leyen said during a debate in the European Parliament.
She said the Commission was dedicated to maintaining peace in Northern Ireland “just as it has done throughout the entire Brexit process.”
The EU backtracked on the mechanism following a backlash from the governments in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. AstraZeneca had informed the EU that it would fall short on the first delivery of its advance purchase agreement by 75%. EFE-EPA