I take the following quotation from our editor’s “Daily Betrayal” column of Thursday 28th January 2021 (link), where she brilliantly told the forensically deduced “story” of the EU infamy in the blame game of poor EU Covid vaccine coverage (in some places within the EU it is down to 7%) while EU member states are pointing the finger at the Commission, who in turn are pointing their fist in a most unattractive manner at the British/Swedish company AstraZeneca with whom they have signed a “Best Effort” contract:
“Stella Kyriakides (….) said “We reject the logic of first come, first served. That might work at the neighbourhood butchers but not on our contracts and not in our advance purchase agreements”
Apparently the EU had held off ordering for approximately 3 months. AZ had developed their version of the vaccine and promised to supply it on a cost only basis to those who had committed to ordering it early on and were now delivering on this basis, particularly to the UK. The EU having realised they had a problem, signed a ‘best effort’ contract expecting to get immediate delivery at a low price, forgetting entirely new production costs would be sustained in “hurry-up” circumstances.
I say “forgetting” – perhaps I should say deliberately so, because in effect if one looks at the opening quotation, it sounds more like a brazen attempt to hijack a delivery to what they call a “third nation” now that we were out of the EU. Perhaps they also thought since we were not out, but in the suspended animation of a duff agreement that had not settled all Brexit issues, they might get away with inferring they had control still on their side.
Before leaving this side of the story I will bring a couple of other quotes our editor had culled from the press, in the column linked to above, a press who may at last be “on the turn”, i.e. beginning to criticise their previous ‘god’, the EU and which convey the true attitude to this now Independent nation. First a comment by the Daily Telegraph correspondent Ambrose Evans-Pritchard:
“Brussels wants Britain to die so that Europeans should live. That is the implication of diverting up to 75 million doses of AstraZenaca vaccine to the EU market”.
AEP ended with this noteworthy quotation
“… If ever there was an example of why Brussels should not be let near policies of real national sensitivity this was it”
Secondly, a comment by Peter Liese, a German MEP in the European Parliament’s Health Committee and a member of Angela Merkel’s CDU party:
“I think the only consequence can be immediately stop the export of Biotech (Pfizer vaccine) and then we are in the middle of a trade war. So the company and the UK better think twice. We have to show our weapons……we need to tell other companies in the world, if you treat the Europeans as second class you will suffer for this”
Thirdly Ms Kyriakides had another sally:
“Pharmaceutical companies, vaccine developers, have moral societal and contractual responsibilities which they need to uphold. The view that the company is not obliged to deliver because we signed a best effort agreement is neither correct nor is it acceptable” She also said “the 27 European union member states are united that AstraZenaca needs to deliver on its commitments on our agreements.
Apart from the above quotations other sources have pointed out that where there is an acute crisis such as this Corona Pandemic a ‘best effort’ is a well known piece of legal language (Daily Mail) which is used when writing up contracts in exceptional circumstances. It would appear that AZ will be in a position to resist the EU and UK deliveries should not suffer.
However, my reason for recording all the above is because I believe we are arriving at a watershed or catalyst moment in dealings with the EU. Their actions and impulses go beyond a bit of arrogance or high handedness, they seem to be prepared to actually break or renege on contracts, they seem to be prepared to take matters to a trade war, they seem to be prepared to reveal their true colours as the evil empire that some of us have always suspected, as described in the past: gangsters in charge of a totalitarian, autocracy/dictatorship.
It is evident that the EU is not dealing with us from a position of strength, their conduct can have no other connotation other than that they are dead scared that GB is going to make a success of Brexit, in fact by pointing out that they cannot “allow” a first come first served policy to exist when dealing with them, they are scared that is exactly will be our attitude. Personally I applaud this concept, we have always been an island trading nation, not necessarily completely with our Empire or the Commonwealth and while you trade honourably (if possible). The early bird, with the best information and speed of delivery or price always gets the worm.
I am not an authority on the terms and conditions of this trade deal we have signed with the EU, but I understand it is very one sided in a number of aspects that from recent events it’s evident that the EU will exploit every little advantage they can find or imply are there.
What to do from hereon? I can only quote one of the comments posted under that ‘Betrayal’ column:
“the withdrawal Agreement should be ripped up promptly as the EU are patently not acting in good faith in relation to our exit from their club and all money saved (not a penny more to the EU) invested in this country starting with ramping up O/AZ production and they can stick their Pfizer not necessarily in the arm”
And I would add: not only send a complaint to WTO but on tearing up the agreement and go to WTO rules,
They are truly a treacherous lot – our supposed “friends in the EU”!
Earlier I wrote that we may be at a Watershed or Catalyst Moment in our relations with the EU, this applies not just to the day to day dealings, but I think our MSM and even remainers are having the veils torn from their eyes and beginning to understand why it was so necessary that we broke away and voted in such numbers for Brexit.
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[Ed: This article was written and submitted late in the night of Thursday 28th January. While it was overtaken by ‘events’, i.e. the EU’s open trade warfare that broke out so quickly yesterday – Friday 29th January 2021 – this article underlines again that we grassroots have a better understanding of the trajectory of EU behaviour than many in our oh so celebrated MSM!]