EU leaders vented frustration over sluggish deliveries of coronavirus vaccines and manufacturing delays as anxiety rises over the rapid spread of new variants. The bloc’s presidents and premiers expressed their fears on Thursday evening as drug company executives in a separate marathon session with EU legislators defended their performance insisting they were doing what they could to ramp up production rapidly.
The heads of state and government were meeting for a video summit aimed at reviewing the EU’s immunization campaign, af weeks of complaints that the bloc is lagging the US and UK. While Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president, came in for criticism over the procurement plan earlier this year many leaders were supportive of her on Thursday, focusing their fire on big pharma companies’ ability to live up to their contract commitments, officials said.
Some, including Italy’s new prime minister Mario Draghi, questioned why the EU was not imposing stricter vaccine export controls akin to those seen in the US. Brussels last month introduced a mechanism to stop shipments by companies deemed not to be meeting delivery obligations to the EU. among our citizens,” von der Le said in a press conference after the meeting. “It has been a very trying year but we should not let up now. Not only does the situation remain serious in many parts o Europe but•we must also watch out for the variants that are spreading..n