THE EU has been blasted for its “incredible act of hostility” after imposing controls on Covid vaccines to Northern Ireland.
The “despicable” move is aimed at ensuring vaccines don’t enter the UK from the province after Brussels slapped vaccine ban rules on jabs entering Britain.
Arlene Foster has reacted with fury to the EU moveCredit: PA:Press Association
A man being vaccinated in Northern IrelandCredit: Press Eye Ltd
Brussels fired the first shot in its vaccine war on the UK after sensationally claiming Britain is “hijacking” doses.
But the bloc also slammed the back door shut on medicines entering Northern Ireland using powers that allow it to override the Brexit deal.
The move has led to fury in the province with First Minister Arlene Foster branding it an “incredible act of hostility” and accusing Brussels of playing politics with people’s lives.
“The European Union has once again shown it is prepared to use Northern Ireland when it suits their interests but in the most despicable manner – over the provision of a vaccine which is designed to save lives,” she said.
“At the first opportunity the EU has placed a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland over the supply chain of the Coronavirus vaccine.”
Ursula von der Leyen lashed out at AstraZeneca
She said the EU had used Article 16 of the Brexit deal in an “aggressive and most shameful way” and “it is now time for our Government to step up”.
As tensions boiled over chief eurocrat Ursula von der Leyen accused AstraZeneca of misrepresenting its contract with the bloc and ordered the firm to find up to an extra 50 million doses for the continent from Britain.
Under the EU vaccine plan customs authorities in bloc countries will have to notify the Commission every time jabs are being sent to the UK – allowing them to keep an eye on our supplies.
The new rule, which comes into force on Saturday and lasts until March, means vaccine makers will have disclose all shipments they’ve made abroad in the last three months to try to catch out those heading to the UK.
Eurocrats have tried to play down the likelihood of millions of Pfizer doses being stopped from reaching Britain, insisting the system is designed to monitor exports and they will only intervene in “rare cases”.
EU health chief Stella Kyriakides insisted: “We’re not protecting ourselves against any specific country, and we’re not in competition or a race against any specific country.”
But one well-placed EU source told The Sun: “It’s not a monitoring system, it’s a blocking mechanism.”