Posted on Mar 29, 2021
"The British are unable to conduct vaccination policy on their own", French EU Commissioner Thierry Breton is reported as saying. "We delivered 20 million doses to help the British. They are totally dependent on us."
According to data gathered by the Financial Times, the UK has vaccinated 3.4 times as many people per capita as the EU as a whole. Over 50% of the population has received at least one dose, with 2nd dose rollout well underway.
Reading media coverage of the EU's vaccine rollout on either side of the English Channel is akin to reading two completely stories. The failure of the European Commission to act swiftly and decisively - or in some cases, to act at all - and is now possibly the greatest existential crisis the EU institutions face.
- Vaccine rollout: European Council provides "only good intentions – nothing more", says Raffaele Fitto MEP
The Commission was shocked when member states began unilaterally to close their borders in the early days of the pandemic. Shouts from Brussels of "you can't do that", were met have "we've already done it!"
The Schengen Agreement on the free-movement of people is, arguably, the EU's greatest achievement. It now lays in tatters.
As for the Commission's insistence that member states must rely on Brussels to negotiate COVID vaccine supplies: having given up waiting, many member states have turned to Russia. Hungary began administering Sputnik V in February.
"Brussels' centralised vaccine procurement has failed, risking the lives of Europeans. So we had to look for new sources of supply," the Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said, after announcing the arrival of the Russian vials.
"We were the first, but we will probably not be the only ones in the European Union to do so, as we see statements from officials urging the study of the Russian and Chinese vaccines in Western Europe."
It is interesting to note that Hungary, acting unilaterally, has the highest vaccination rate in the EU at 27%.
A French European Parliament official told EUToday this morning: "Monsieur Breton est plein de merde!"
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