EU economic crisis: Businesses could quit Brussels bloc as vaccine blockade backfires

Vaccine row: Investors will be ‘very careful’ says columnist

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The EU could spark an economic crisis if investors are put off by the bloc’s “political use” of its export ban. The Brussels-led bloc came under fire this week after backing Italy’s move to block shipment of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine destined for Australia. In response, Australian politicians have lashed out at the EU for “tearing up the rule book”.

Ross Clark, columnist for the Spectator and Telegraph, told talkRADIO that the latest move could backfire badly on the EU and could lead to an exodus of investors and businesses.

TalkRADIO host Ian Collins said: “It seems to go from bad to worse for the EU.”

Mr Clark responded: “First they complain they don’t get enough doses. They were going to retaliate by preventing exports of vaccines to Britain.

“Then they started dissing the AstraZeneca vaccine, with Macron calling it quasi-effective for over-65s.

“And now they have gone back to the original position and are preventing it from being exported to Australia.”

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He warned that investors are worried about the EU’s political use of the export ban, after seizing vaccines destined for Australia. 

Mr Clark continued: “There is no excuse to prevent exports to countries that have ordered the vaccine.

“What I think it shows is that, short of British influence, the EU is becoming this nasty, protectionist organisation.

“It sends a powerful signal to companies who are thinking of investing in production facilities in the EU.

“Customers thinking of buying EU-produced goods will be very, very careful.

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“By blocking borders, blocking exports, it shows the EU is ready to use its export ban and so on for political purposes.

“It won’t help attract investment from around the world.”

The Australian government have since asked the European Commission to review the decision.

France warned on Friday it may follow Italy in blocking Covid-19 vaccine shipments to non-EU countries as concerns about vaccine nationalism rise.

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Brussels have been widely criticised for the slow pace of its vaccination programme, compared to the UK where 40 percent of the adult population has now been offered a first jab.

Only 5.5 percent of the EU population of 447 million has received a first vaccine dose, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Leading eurosceptic MP David Davis ridiculed an “over-emotional” European Union after Italy’s move.

He said Italy’s move, backed by the European Commission, to block the export of 250,000 Covid-19 AstraZeneca vaccine doses to Australia, was “not the way proper modern countries behave”.

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