EU leaders confirm vaccine export control

The leaders of EU member countries have confirmed strengthening export controls of COVID-19 vaccines manufactured within the bloc.

An online summit held on Thursday discussed the vaccines, whose delivery has been delayed so far.

Earlier on Wednesday, the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, proposed toughening the vaccine export authorization mechanism.

The leaders taking part in Thursday's summit agreed to call on drug companies to respect their contractual commitments with the European Union.

The leaders also agreed to accelerate efforts to introduce vaccine certificates ahead of the summer tourism season.

Such certificates are expected to help the resumption of free traveling within the bloc.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden took part in the virtual summit at the invitation of the EU. He agreed to cooperate on global issues such as coronavirus responses and resuscitating the economy.

Biden was the first US president to attend an EU summit since Barack Obama in 2009. The move reflected the willingness of both sides in boosting policy coordination.