Boris Johnson Holds Call With EU’s Von Der Leyen as Vaccine Tensions Grow

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen had a phone call on Wednesday evening after European Union efforts to secure vaccine supplies ramped up tensions between the two sides, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The call was held at around 7 p.m., one of the people said. It took place just hours after von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, had floated plans to restrict vaccine exports from the EU to Britain. Spokesmen for both the commission and the U.K. government declined to comment.

A row over vaccine exports is the latest controversy to muddy relations between Britain and the EU since the U.K.’s departure from the bloc. The two sides are also embroiled in an argument over the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol in the Brexit agreement.

The U.K. is the largest recipient of doses made in the EU, receiving 10 million of the 42 million exported shots since February. EU ambassadors were told on Wednesday that no vaccines have been imported from Britain.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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