Ursula von der Leyen claims AstraZeneca contract has 'clear vaccine delivery quantities'
- Credit: Getty Images
EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has said the bloc's contracts with AstraZeneca - which produces one of several Covid jabs - contains binding orders and clear delivery quantities.
AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot has said the contract was "not a commitment" and that the firm had only agreed to meet demand to its "best effort".
Von der Leyen appeared to reject that claim during an interview with German radio Deutschlandfunk on Friday morning.
She said: "'Best efforts' applies as long as it was not clear whether [AstraZeneca] could develop a vaccine. This time is now behind us ... With the development of a vaccine that works and is safe, there are then clear delivery quantities, both for December of last year as well as the quarters [of this year], the first, second and third quarters. They are in the contract."
Asked whether the quantities were subject to a "best-effort" limitation, von der Leyen responded: "No. There are binding orders and the contract is crystal-clear. AstraZeneca has expressly assured us in this contract that no other obligations will stand in the way of fulfilling the contract."
You may also want to watch:
Von der Leyen's statement comes as the contract between the EU and AstraZeneca was published by the Commission on Friday.
Brussels insisted that UK manufacturing plants should be used to help supply doses of the AstraZeneca jab to the EU.
- 1 Poll: Laurence Fox in joint last place with Count Binface in race for London mayor
- 2 British fisherman expresses regret over Brexit vote on Danish TV
- 3 Brexit regret: Meet the Leave voters who wish they hadn't voted Leave
- 4 Opposition parties push for probe into Boris Johnson's conduct following viral video
- 5 Russell Kane: Why working class people like Boris Johnson
- 6 Priti Patel plan to deport EU rough sleepers from UK branded ‘inhumane’ by charity
- 7 Why everybody rents in Germany
- 8 James Dyson moves main address back to the UK
- 9 Ex-minister says Boris Johnson's government is a 'cesspit' where 'almost nobody' tells the truth
- 10 Academics urge No 10 to 'rethink' refusal to grant EU ambassador in London full diplomatic status
Eric Mamer, chief spokesmen for the European Commission, said: "We have always said that indeed there are a number of plants which are mentioned in the contract that we have with AstraZeneca, some of which are located in the UK, and it is foreseen that these plants will contribute to the effort of AstraZeneca to deliver doses to the European Union.
"There is absolutely no question for us that this is what the contract specifies."
AstraZeneca has said part of the reason for the delay was because the EU had concluded its contract with the firm well after the UK had, and because of "teething problems" at some of its manufacturing sites - a claim von der Leyen has strongly rejected.
She added: "It's not like standing in the line at the bakery, it's a clear contract. This is about millions of euros that were invested in advance by the European Union."
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.