'Don't f*** with the UK!' Britons hit out as EU finally caves on vaccine export threat

The UK Government dealt with the simmering row by promising to help get the European Union’s disastrous vaccination programme back on track – with the EU softening its furious rhetoric soon after. Downing Street went on the charm offensive amid fears the UK’s highly successful vaccine scheme was in the crosshairs of European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen. Top foreign office envoy Sir Tim Barrow was dispatched to Brussels to steer her away from sparking a full-blown export war with the UK.

The breakthrough talks between the UK and EU are focussing on securing the vital cross-Channel supply chains to keep the vaccine taps turned on for both the EU and UK.

Despite the cooling of diplomatic relations, Express.co.uk readers have lashed out at the EU for allowing the situation to escalate.

One reader branded the bloc “incompetent” and “protectionist”, as the UK was praised for standing up to the EU.

Reacting to our initial story, one Express.co.uk reader said: “Can you just imagine if the rolls were reversed and the EU were racing ahead with their vaccine rollout and the UK falling behind? No way would the EU cooperate.

“Their response would be ‘the UK voted for Brexit, it’s your problem’.

“They´re so angry at Brexit Britain showing them up for what they are – totally incompetent and protectionist.”

A second reader wrote: “The EU hasn’t supplied anything AZ makes it and distributes it.

“The only thing the EU have done is mess up everything. They are totally incompetent.”

READ MORE: EU vaccine claims questioned by BBC after AstraZeneca attacks

In a joint statement with Brussels, Downing Street said: “We are all facing the same pandemic and the third wave makes cooperation between the EU and UK even more important.

“We have been discussing what more we can do to ensure a reciprocally beneficial relationship between the UK and EU on COVID-19.”

“Given our interdependencies, we are working on specific steps we can take – in the short-, medium – and long term – to create a win-win situation and expand vaccine supply for all our citizens.”

“In the end, openness and global cooperation of all countries will be key to finally overcome this pandemic and ensure better preparation for meeting future challenges.

“We will continue our discussions”

The EU had suggested it could retaliate by snatching doses of the Pfizer vaccine, made in Belgium, heading to our shores.

European Commission executive vice president Valdis Dombrovskis said: “The EU still faces a very serious epidemiological situation and continues to export significantly to countries whose situation is less serious than ours, or whose vaccination is more advanced than ours.”

He added: “Some 10 million doses have been exported from the EU to the UK, and zero doses have been exported from the UK to EU.

“If we discuss reciprocity, solidarity and global responsibility, it’s clear we need to look at those aspects.”

The eurocrat said exports of Pfizer jabs to the UK would be reviewed on a “case by case basis”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the move would force pharmaceutical giants to reconsider doing business on the continent.

He told the Commons Liaison Committee: “Companies may look at such actions… and draw conclusions about whether or not it is sensible to make future investments in countries where they have arbitrary blockades.”

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