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Why the vaccine export row is a straw in the Brexit wind

The EU was right to back down on the Northern Ireland protocol. But this episode has illustrated a hard truth for Brexit Britain 

By Philip Rycroft  

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The bloc's behaviour has been potentially corrosive to trust. Photo: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

What a mess. Who would have thought that the first crisis in post-Brexit EU/UK relations would have come from an attempt by the EU to block exports of vaccines to Northern Ireland?

The EU has quite rightly and swiftly backed down. The proposal to use the safeguard clause in the Northern Ireland Protocol to stop vaccine exports across the border on the island of Ireland was wholly disproportionate to the problem the bloc faces and potentially wholly destructive of trust in the management of the Protocol. This fiasco bears all the signs of a bureaucracy under huge pressure:…

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