EU countries cannot negotiate separate vaccine deals - EU chief

FILE PHOTO: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen takes off her mask before signing Brexit trade agreement due to come into force on January 1, 2021, in Brussels, Belgium December 30, 2020. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/Pool

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU countries are not allowed to negotiate separate vaccine deals with pharmaceutical companies in parallel to the efforts of the European Union as a whole, the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday.

“The only framework we are negotiating in is as 27. We do this together and no member state on this legal binding basis is allowed to negotiate in parallel or to have a contract in parallel,” von der Leyen told reporters in Brussels.

“The whole portfolio covers 2.3 billion doses of vaccines so this is more than enough to vaccinate the whole European population,” she said.

Reporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine; editing by Philip Blenkinsop