European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer is pictured during a press conference in Brussels, Belgium, in March 2020.
European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer is pictured during a press conference in Brussels, Belgium, in March 2020. Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The European Commission says the message to vaccine makers is very clear and is calling on them to do their utmost to comply with the contracts they’ve signed with the bloc, its chief spokesperson said Friday.

Eric Mamer, the trade bloc’s chief spokesperson, addressed the decision taken by Italy to block the export of 250,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Australia in a media briefing.

“The message is very clearly … that we expect companies with which the European Union has signed advanced purchasing agreements, to do their utmost to comply with the contracts with the delivery contracts that they have with the with the Member States,” Mamer said.

The fact is that the European Union is a major exporter of vaccine doses,” he added.

“We have always said, that we were actually in intense discussions with the company in order to ensure the respect of the schedule of deliveries because EMA has authorised this vaccine, and we are urging member states to use it.”

The spokesperson went on to say it is not the EU’s place to tell the company where the doses must go to, adding that they remain in the possession of AstraZeneca.

“We do not take a decision that says those 250,000 doses must go to X or Y, that’s not our business,” he said. 

“Our business is to say, a decision has been taken by the Italian authorities that we have supported on exports, because the assessment is that progress needs to be made on the delivery to EU countries, and this is basically the conversation that we will continue to have with the company.”