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EU diplomat summoned to Foreign Office amid coronavirus vaccine row

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in London. - Credit: PA

A senior European Union diplomat has been summoned to the Foreign Office in a row over coronavirus vaccine exports.

Nicole Mannion, deputy ambassador of the EU to the UK, attended the meeting on Wednesday morning after European Council president Charles Michel accused Britain and the US of imposing bans on the movement of jabs.



Foreign secretary Dominic Raab wrote to Michel on Tuesday evening seeking to “set the record straight”, saying that “any references to a UK export ban or any restrictions on vaccines are completely false”.

Raab insisted the government “has not blocked a single Covid-19 vaccine or vaccine components”, adding: “We are all facing this pandemic together.”

Anger over the claim being repeated within the EU and the Commission, despite the UK correcting the record on each occasion, is understood to have led to the deputy ambassador being summoned to the Foreign Office.

A spokesman for the EU delegation said: “This morning Nicole Mannion, deputy ambassador of the EU to the UK and charge d’affaires at the EU Delegation to the UK attended a meeting at the request of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

“We have no further comment at this stage.”

Michel, in a newsletter on Tuesday, said he was “shocked” when he heard allegations of vaccine nationalism levelled at the EU, saying: “The facts do not lie.”

He added: “The United Kingdom and the United States have imposed an outright ban on the export of vaccines or vaccine components produced on their territory.

“But the European Union, the region with the largest vaccine production capacity in the world, has simply put in place a system for controlling the export of doses produced in the EU.”

A government spokesman said Downing Street “has not blocked the export of a single Covid-19 vaccine” and branded the claims as “completely false”.

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