The European Commission (EC) has promised the Netherlands and other countries to be cautious about applying stricter export regulations for corona vaccines, said outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte after an online summit with EU leaders.
The Commission is frustrated, in particular, with the supplies of the British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which delivers significantly fewer doses than contractually agreed.
EC chairman Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday evening that AstraZeneca will only be allowed to export vaccines again if the company complies with the agreements.
"We must and want to explain to EU citizens that they are getting their rightful share."
French President Emmanuel Macron also wants the EU to take tougher action against companies.
"It's done with naivety. I support the fact that we have to block the export of corona vaccines as long as pharmaceutical companies do not honor their agreements with the EU."
Much of the British pharmaceutical's vaccines are produced in the European Union.
This is done in a factory in Leiden, among other places.
Many vaccines are exported to the United Kingdom, which will be the hardest hit by any blockage.
In total, more than 77 million corona vaccines have been exported from the EU since the beginning of December.
The United Kingdom imported 21 million.
In the UK, nearly 46 vaccines have been administered per 100 inhabitants, while the EU is lagging behind at 14 per 100 inhabitants.
Prime Minister Rutte and several other European government leaders are not in favor of an export ban and would rather settle the dispute through dialogue.
The Prime Minister had therefore previously asked for restraint.
"Having such an instrument is not bad at all, but it should preferably not be used. We think it is important to leave this gun unloaded."
Rutte spoke to Johnson about AstraZeneca
Rutte expects that corona vaccines will still go to the United Kingdom.
Last week he spoke with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the production of the vaccines in the Leiden factory.
Rutte has told him that the Netherlands will block exports if the European Commission asks for it, because that is what it is about.
This weekend Brussels and London will meet again.
Rutte assumes that the parties will get out and that an export ban will not be necessary.
"They will continue to negotiate about this on Saturday and I have the impression that a win-win form should be possible."
The British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca was expected to deliver 300 million doses to the European Union by the end of June, but had to reduce that target to 100 million due to production problems.
This has delayed vaccination campaigns in the EU.
The EU member states wondered aloud whether the company favors other countries.