Ursula von der Leyen has promised Boris Johnson that future EU controls on vaccines will not disrupt contracted supplies of the Belgian-made BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine to Britain.
The European Commission president made the commitment to the prime minister in a tense Friday night call, which followed the Commission’s controversial plan — hastily abandoned — to impose emergency border controls on vaccines entering Northern Ireland from the EU.
Ms von der Leyen tweeted that the talks with Mr Johnson had been “constructive”, adding: “We agreed on the principle that there should not be restrictions on the export of vaccines by companies where they are fulfilling contractual responsibilities.”
Mr Johnson’s allies confirmed that this included the 40m doses that Pfizer is contracted to supply Britain from a plant in Belgium. The Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The dropping of the implied threat to Pfizer exports and the abandonment of the proposal to include Northern Ireland in new export controls has calmed tension between London and Brussels.
Mr Johnson has tried this week to avoid stoking tension and inflaming a vaccine war which he believes would harm both sides and hinder the global fight against Covid-19.
“The call was