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Boxes of AstraZeneca vaccines are seen in a cold room in Oss, the Netherlands on April 6.
Boxes of AstraZeneca vaccine are seen in a cold room in Oss, the Netherlands on April 6. Rob Engelaar / ANP / AFP / Getty Images

The European Commission will begin new legal proceedings against AstraZeneca on Tuesday for the delayed deliveries of its Covid-19 vaccines, an EU spokesperson said in a statement on Monday.

Stefan De Keersmaecker, spokesperson for the European Commission for Health, Food Safety and Transport, said: “The second lawsuit concerns the merits of the case: on the basis of the provisions of the advance purchase contract . [APA], the Commission asks the Court to determine whether AstraZeneca violated the APA. ”

“Tomorrow, the introductory hearing will take place. The Court should set the deadlines for the submission of briefs and hearings, ”he added.

On April 26, the EU announced that it was suing AstraZeneca for an alleged breach of its vaccine supply contract, a dramatic escalation in a months-long dispute over delivery delays that have hampered vaccine deployment across the continent.

The 27 countries of the European Union had ordered 300 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from the Anglo-Swedish drug manufacturer to be delivered by the end of June, with an option to purchase an additional 100 million. But deliveries of the vaccine have repeatedly failed, which has sparked a bitter public fight over the terms of the contract.

In his statement on Monday, De Keersmaecker said the first case was an emergency injunction while the second was a trial on the merits of the case.

Regarding this first trial, he said: “Given the urgent need for vaccine doses to continue vaccination in the Member States, the Commission asked the court to require the company to deliver a sufficient number of doses. . The court will only make a preliminary assessment of the case and assess whether there is an urgency to deliver doses. The hearing in this case will take place on May 26. ”

He said the committee’s objective is the same across the two prosecutions, ie “to ensure, through legal action, the delivery of a sufficient number of doses for European citizens”.

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