German Chancellor Angela Merkel Thursday defended a European Union (EU) decision to limit exports of coronavirus vaccine to make sure the bloc has enough for its own people.
Speaking to Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, Merkel highlighted the importance of the EU producing enough vaccine for itself because other nations are not exporting vaccine.
She said, “We have seen now that British production sites are manufacturing for Britain and the United States is not exporting, so we are reliant on what can be produced within the EU.”
The comments come ahead of an EU leaders' summit scheduled later Thursday, at which she said they would discuss how to make sure more vaccine is made on European soil.
The EU’s executive arm, the EU Commission, made good Wednesday on a threat from Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen, saying it is proposing new export rules based on “reciprocity and proportionality,” meaning it would export only to those nations that have exported to the EU.
The new proposed rules appeared to be aimed at Britain because EU officials noted they have exported 10 million doses of vaccine and Britain has exported zero doses to the EU. The move reportedly prompted talks between the two sides to reach a compromise.
Merkel told lawmakers more vaccine and more vaccinations are the way out of the crisis, and she urged Germans to get vaccinated and to keep their vaccination appointments.