Saturday 30 January 2021

Two sides to every story (or maybe not)


It's a bit of a catch-up morning today after a busy week has prevented much blogging. 

It did note this on Wednesday's BBC One News at Ten covering the earlier stages of this week's EU-AstraZeneca row. 

I've colour-highlighted it to show the bits that put the EU's side (in blue) and those that put AstraZeneca's side (in red). I think it shows a considerable imbalance: 

BBC newsreader: The European Union says the drug company AstraZeneca should honour a contract to supply vaccines by using its British factories to make up a shortfall. The European Commission is angry that the company might provide the EU with millions fewer doses than it had initially promised. Our Europe correspondent, Nick Beake, is in Brussels. What is the latest stage of this row? 

Nick Beake, BBCThe EU certainly thinks it's in a very strong legal position and it's asking AstraZeneca to publish the contract that was agreed, but this row is escalated very publicly today. At its heart, the EU believes AstraZeneca is favouring the UK over European countries. AstraZeneca says that isn't the case, it's sticking to the terms of its agreement, and it's pointed out the EU side its contract three months after the UK. That prompted a senior European Commission figure today to say the idea of first-come, first-served is all well and that if you are popping to the local butcher, but not if you have signed a contract for millions of life-saving vaccines. It's also prompted the likes of Germany to call for restrictions or even a ban on EU made vaccines going to other countries, including the UK. The commission is downplaying that idea. I can tell you has been a meeting tonight between the two sides, both using the word constructive, but still the EU is saying that, even though it has not yet approved this vaccine, it wants all of the jabs it ordered to be delivered and to be delivered on time.  
BBC newsreader: Thank you for the latest on that from Brussels. 

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