- France and Belgium called on other leaders to prepare emergency plans to prevent trade and security agreements from being signed.
- A member of the EU team tested positive for the coronavirus.
- The negotiation ended in failure.
The leaders of France and Belgium urged the EU to intensify its efforts to prepare for a no-deal Brexit by the end of the year, in case negotiations with the UK fail to achieve a breakthrough at the last minute. That’s according to two people familiar with the relevant discussions at the EU leaders video summit on Thursday.
French President Emmanuel Macron and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo both called on other leaders to prepare emergency plans to prevent trade and security agreements from being signed. The negotiation ended in failure.
According to people familiar with the matter, Prime Minister De Croo pointed out that the negotiations have far exceeded the initial deadline and said the EU cannot continue to hope that the differences with the UK can be resolved on its own.
The above warning came when negotiations between the UK and the EU were disrupted by a member of the EU team who tested positive for the coronavirus. Face-to-face negotiations have now been suspended, and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier will be isolated.
As the deadline for reaching an agreement is approaching, this makes negotiations more complicated. If no agreement is reached by the end of the year, with the restoration of tariffs and quotas, companies and consumers will face confusion and new costs.
However, in recent days, officials from both sides have expressed cautious optimism privately, believing that an agreement may be reached as soon as next week. That indicates that the above two leaders’ remarks may be an attempt to pressure the British government to compromise.
Rumor: EU Reached Agreements with Pfizer, CureVac
An EU official involved in the negotiations revealed to the media that the EU may pay more than $10 billion (£7.5 billion) to secure the development of Pfizer (PFE.US) and CureVac (CVAC.US)’s vaccine.
At present, the EU and related pharmaceutical companies have declined to comment on this news.
The official said that the European Union has agreed to purchase from Pfizer and BioNTech (BNTX.US) a vaccine candidate for health incidents jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech (BNTX.US) at a price of €15.50 ($18.34) per dose, which means that the total price of 200 million doses will be as high as €31 billion ($37 billion).
According to the agreement, if the EU purchases an additional 100 million doses, the total price will rise to €45 billion.
In addition, the source said that the EU also agreed to purchase 225 million doses of vaccine candidates from CureVac at a price of €10 euros ($11.84) per dose, which is lower than the company’s original set of €12. They also said that the EU reached an agreement with CureVac this week to ensure the supply of up to 405 million doses of vaccine, of which 180 million doses are optional additional doses.
According to reports, CureVac has promised to start delivery before the end of March. The purchase price of an additional 180 million doses is still unclear.
However, assuming a cost of €10 per dose, the EU would also have to pay €4.05 billion for this calculated based on the predetermined 405 million doses.