European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen.

European Union leaders have stopped short of banning vaccine exports after a protracted row with the Anglo-Swedish manufacturer, AstraZeneca.

At a summit on Thursday they gave backing in principle for toughening export controls.But a post-summit statement emphasised the importance of global supply chains needed to produce vaccinations.

Elements of the AstraZeneca vaccination are manufactured in a number of EU states.

European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen said AstraZeneca must “catch up” on deliveries to the EU before exporting doses elsewhere.

French President, Emmanuel Macron told reporters this marked “the end of naivety” from the EU.

Vaccine rollouts in EU states have started sluggishly, and the bloc has blamed pharmaceutical companies – primarily AstraZeneca – for not delivering promised doses.

AstraZeneca has denied that it is failing to honour its contract.

The EU is expecting to receive about 30 million AstraZeneca doses by the end of March, less than a third of what it was hoping for.

BBC