EU crisis: Vaccine fiasco throws future existence of bloc into doubt, warns Brexiteer

EU is 'jealous' of UK vaccine programme says commentator

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Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said Brussels had mismanaged the vaccines for its member states in stark comparison to the performance of the newly independent UK which had enraged Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel. He said a “vaccine war” between the EU and UK was still being waged and warned European citizens would be the losers whatever the eventual outcome.

The EU itself is under unprecedented existential threat due to huge public dissatisfaction

Andrew Bridgen

Writing on the Pavlovic Today website, Mr Bridgen said: “The EU itself is under unprecedented existential threat due to huge public dissatisfaction as the vaccine situation has exposed the EU’s supertanker compared to the UK speedboat – an analogy made by Ursula von der Leyen the EU President herself.”

The North West Leicestershire MP claimed the responsibility for the vaccine fiasco lay at the door of Ms Merkel and Mr Macron who had hoped to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in Europe with resorting to a UK-developed vaccine.

He said: “When both Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, the hard-pressed French President, both repeat the same untruth about AstraZeneca, contradicting their scientists, you know something is going on.

“Macron and Merkel are the respective leaders of the Franco-German alliance, leading the European Union unchallenged since the UK left the EU last year.

“What they also have in common is that they are in deep political trouble for the mismanagement of the procurement and roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccines in their respective countries.

“It is no good trying to dodge the political bullet by saying that the procurement and distribution of vaccines were organised by the European Union when everyone knows that Germany and France effectively control the European Union.”

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Mr Bridgen continued: “The great untruth is what both leaders have repeated about the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine and its efficacy for those over 65 years of age.

“They also spoke critically about the UK policy of rolling out the first dose of the vaccine to as many citizens as possible, with a three-month delay before administering the second dose. These policies are now supported by the WHO as enhancing the protection provided by the vaccine.

“The EU never intended to procure, license or use the Oxford (UK) developed vaccine. They preferred to rely on vaccines developed in France, which all failed, and as they say, the rest is history.

“Well it’s not quite yet as this ‘debacle,’ a good French word may lead to a degree of ‘schadenfreude,’ which is a good German word.”

Mr Macron and Ms Merkel were forced to backtrack on their ill-informed remarks about the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab last week and appealed to French and German citizens to put their trust in the vaccine in the face of widespread public resistance.

And EU leaders met in Brussels last week to try to find ways to speed up the production and rollout of vaccines in a race against the emergence of new variants that some fear could bring a third wave of the pandemic to the continent.

The European Commission told leaders 51.5 million doses of vaccines have so far been delivered to the bloc and 29.17 million administered, with just five percent of citizens having had their first dose.

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The Commission and EU countries have come under fire for missteps in their joint inoculation programme and a stuttering rollout of shots that has lagged badly behind Britain and the US.

The 27 countries are pushing for smoother delivery of shots and ways to quickly produce updates to cope with mutations.

The EU has a target of vaccinating 70 percent of adults by the summer but supply shortfalls have hampered its programme.

A joint letter from the leader of five EU countries said: “We cannot afford to lose this battle.”

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