Vaccine row proves EU is ‘no friend’ to Britain as Brexiteer warns Boris to not be ‘naive’

Fauci says AstraZeneca is ‘likely a very good vaccine’

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The former Brexit Party MEP was commenting after a new analysis by the Facts4EU think tank showed the bloc currently exempts more than 100 countries worldwide from the sort of vaccine export ban European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen threatened Britain with at the weekend. Mr Habib told Express.co.uk: “We asked the EU to ease the pressure on our fishermen so that they may export to the EU what they had been exporting until the end of December.

”Without any rational justification, the EU declined – even though they freely fish our waters and take the very same fish!

“We asked the EU to ease the pressure on the people of Northern Ireland by extending grace periods for ‘exports’ from Great Britain.

“Without any rational justification, the EU declined – it is now taking legal action against the UK in this matter!”

He added: “We expected the EU not to interfere in commercial arrangements between the British government and a British firm for a British vaccine but they did.

“They even invoked Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol to put a ‘hard’ border on the island of Ireland to get their way!”

He warned: “Any conclusion other than the EU having malign intent towards the UK is naive in the extreme.

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“The Prime Minister continues to refer to them as ‘our friends and partners’ in the EU. He is wrong.”

Facts4EU experts launched their investigation after the Commission on January 29 used emergency powers to issue its Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/111 controlling the export of vaccines.

Mrs von der Leyen has sought to justify her threats to slap an export ban on Britain by saying the bloc is simply seeking to prevent exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine, developed in conjunction with Oxford University, until the company had “fulfilled its part of the deal toward Europe”.

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However, EU documents indicate a total of 118 countries are currently exempt from the implementing regulation, ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

Speaking today, former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage called for the UK to stop all payments to the bloc in response to its “brutish” behaviour in respect of vaccine exports.

He told the Foxhole website: “I cannot see why we should pay £10bn this year to an organisation that is acting in bad faith.

“That is threatening to block legally-acquired vaccines and I honestly think that the government should stop playing softly-softly with the European Union.”

The former UKIP leader added: “They are being absolutely brutish and nasty to us and we seem to lie down and take it every time. Let’s now threaten them with this money.

“They’re in breach of what we signed up and agreed to and if they continue in this manner, we will stop giving them billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.

“That strikes me as being a fit and reasonable thing to do and I urge the government in their negotiations to tell the EU to ‘start playing with a straight bat or we’re not going to send you any more money!’”

Mr Johnson himself has attempted to pour oil on troubled waters today, rejecting the possibility the UK could engage in a tit-for-tat vaccine export war with the European Union.

He told a Downing Street press conference: “We’ll continue to work with European partners to deliver the vaccine rollout.

“All I can say is we in this country don’t believe in blockades of any kind of vaccines or vaccine materials.

“It’s not something that this country would dream of engaging in and I’m encouraged in some of the things I’ve heard from the continent in the same sense.”

Across the EU, just over 10 percent of adults have received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine – but in the UK the figure is over 53 percent.

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