Tensions continue to rise as the pharma giant refuted the EU’s claims vaccine talks were on hold. The European Medicines Agency will decide whether to approve the use of the vaccine on Friday.
AstraZeneca has pulled out of meeting with the European Union to discuss delayed vaccine commitments to the bloc, a European Commission spokesperson said on Wednesday.
Dana Spinant confirmed earlier reports by the Reuters and AP news agencies that the firm had pulled out of tonight’s meetng with EU officials.
“The representative of AstraZeneca has anounced this morning that their particpation is not happening,” she told journalists.
A senior Commisson official told DW that they still expected the firm to take part in a meeting “in due course.”
The British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant immediately denied it had withdrawn from the talks.
“We can confirm we have not pulled out, we will be attending the meeting with EU officials later today,” an AstraZeneca spokeswoman said in a statement.
What are AstraZeneca and the EU planning to talk about?
Executives were set to hold talks with the European Commission, which negotiated the vaccine deals, to explain the delay in deliveries.
The European Medicines Agency, which is based in Amsterdam, will take a decision on whether to approve the jab for use in the 27-member bloc on Friday.
It was developed together with scientists at the University of Oxford.
EU vaccine rollout under fire
On Monday, the EU threatened to impose tight export controls within days on COVID-19 vaccines made in the bloc.
The EU, which has 450 million citizens and the economic and political clout of the world’s biggest trading bloc, is lagging behind countries like Israel and Britain in rolling out coronavirus vaccine shots.
There have been more than 400,000 confirmed virus deaths in the EU since the pandemic began last year.