The EU must learn the lessons of the abrupt end of the US-led mission in Afghanistan and acquire the “political will” to build up its own military force to deploy to future crises, the European Commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen, has said. Von der Leyen said there would be crises where the EU’s own military force should operate independently from both the UN and Nato.
The European Union will work to phase out caged animal farming across the bloc, after a petition calling for an end to the practice gathered more than a million signatures. The European Commission has outlined plans to propose legislation which would phase out — and ultimately ban — cages for farm animals, including rabbits, young hens, quails, ducks and geese. The changes would be suggested by 2023 and introduced by 2027.
The European Union entered what was intended to be a final round of negotiations on Thursday to bridge differences over the use of COVID-19 certificates designed to open up tourism this summer. European Parliament lawmakers and current EU president Portugal representing the bloc’s 27 members scheduled an afternoon of discussions to break deadlock about the extent to which the certificates would ease travel.
Ursula von der Leyen has warned that the EU will not hesitate to use the “real teeth” in the Brexit deal to punish the British government for breaching its obligations as MEPs prepared to consent to the historic agreement, marking the end of four years of high political drama. The UK government has been accused of breaching its commitments in Northern Ireland and on an agreement on fisheries.
A top official at the European Medicines Agency says there’s a causal link between AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine and rare blood clots, but that it’s unclear what the connection is and that the benefits of taking the shot still outweigh the risks of getting COVID-19. In Geneva, the World Health Organization said its experts were also evaluating a possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots.
The European Commission is calling for tougher controls on COVID-19 vaccine exports. President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen said “open roads should run in both directions”, adding: “The EU has an excellent portfolio of different vaccines and we have secured more than enough doses for the entire population. But we have to ensure timely and sufficient vaccine deliveries to EU citizens. Every day counts.”
The European Union may get more restrictive in exporting COVID-19 vaccines to safeguard essential jabs for its own citizens facing a third wave of the pandemic, the head of the bloc’s executive said on Wednesday. Ursula von der Leyen’s announcement risks escalating tensions with the United Kingdom and the United Stated over their restrictive approach deliveries of vaccines to the 27-nation bloc.
Ireland and the Netherlands have joined the growing list of countries that have suspended the use of the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford over blood clot concerns. The World Health Organization has sought to downplay ongoing safety concerns, saying last week that there is no link between the shot and an increased risk of developing blood clots.
Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has agreed to supply 9 million additional doses of its coronavirus vaccine to the European Union during the first quarter, the bloc’s executive arm said Sunday. The new target of 40 million doses by the end of March is still only half what the British-Swedish company had originally aimed for before it announced a shortfall due to production problems, triggering a spat between AstraZeneca and the EU last week.
A senior EU official has suggested coronavirus vaccines produced in the UK should be shared with the bloc, as its supply comes under pressure. The row blew up after AstraZeneca announced it would have to cut the amount of jabs delivered before the end of March from 80 million to 31 million. But the UK government is insisting that Britain’s vaccine orders should not be affected by the EU’s troubles.