Defence Secretary: EU blocking vaccine exports is counterproductive

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has warned that any attempt by the European Union to block vaccine exports would be “counterproductive”.

Video Transcript

BEN WALLACE: We could absolutely work together to continue to maximize production. Already, already the United Kingdom government is exploring increasing production. We're exploring where else we can grow the supply chain, whether at home or abroad.

We're also funding up to half a billion pounds to COVAX, the international community, to make sure we get nearly a billion doses out around the world when they are available to countries that are much poorer than us. So the grown-up thing would be for the European Commission and some of the European leaders to not indulge in rhetoric but to recognize the obligations that we all have. Pull together. Where can we maximize supply? And help roll out that supply.

ANDREW MARR: Do you take their threat seriously?

BEN WALLACE: Well, I think I take any, sort of, alarmist language seriously. I think that's-- you know, that is counterproductive. It's counterproductive, and it worries my constituents. It worries, no doubt, many constituents across the EU. And I think what we shouldn't forget is, you know, domestically they are under real pressure.

That the European Commission came up with a pan-Europe solution that has clearly not delivered the goods to the citizens of Europe. Both local politicians and indeed Commission politicians on the continent will feel that pressure deeply. And I think you're really seeing a response to that. But, you know, fundamentally we will all hold each other to our contracts.

You know, making a vaccine is like baking a cake. And we all have different ingredients. And the European Commission will know that. You pointed out the point about Pfizer. They will know that, simply, you know, you wouldn't want to cut off your nose to spite your face.