The European Union criticised Britain’s rapid approval of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, saying its own procedure was more thorough, after Britain became the first western country to endorse a COVID-19 shot. The move to grant emergency authorisation to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been seen by many as a political coup for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has led his country out of the EU and faced criticism for his handling of the pandemic. The decision was made under an ultra-fast, emergency approval process, which allowed the British drugs regulator to temporarily authorise the vaccine only 10 days after it began examining data from large-scale trials. In an unusually blunt statement, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which is in charge of approving COVID-19 vaccines for the EU, said its longer approval procedure was more appropriate as it was based on more evidence and required more checks than the emergency procedure chosen by Britain. The agency said on Tuesday it would decide by Dec. 29 whether to provisionally authorise the vaccine from U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE . A spokesman for the European Commission, the EU executive, said the EMA’s procedure was “the most effective regulatory mechanism to grant all EU citizens’ access to a safe and effective vaccine,” as it was based on more evidence. Pfizer UK Country Manager Ben Osborn said, “We have provided complete data packages, the unblinded data, to both regulators. I think what you’re seeing is just the difference in the underlying process and timelines, as opposed to any difference in data submission.” June Raine, the head of Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said, “The way in which the MHRA has worked is equivalent to all international standards.