Yesterday Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was asked whether order quantities were subject to a “best-effort” limitation, as AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot has been saying. Remarkably, von der Leyen replied
“No. There are binding orders and the contract is crystal-clear. AstraZeneca has expressly assured us in this contract that no other obligations will stand in the way of fulfilling the contract.”
Which is fairly hard to square with the published agreement which repeatedly references “best reasonable efforts”.
More particularly, while the EU are spinning that the agreement means that they are entitled to a share of the doses manufactured in the UK, a top legal boffin tells Guido that it is plainly wrong – to the point of being not really arguable.
The key obligation in the agreement is in Section 5.1, which “silos” production for the doses to go to the EU, making clear that the AZ obligation is only to use best reasonable efforts to manufacture the initial doses within the EU. If they are manufacturing doses outside the EU that’s irrelevant to that obligation. Has the EU just shot itself in the foot?