EU on the brink: Member states ditch Brussels’ joint vaccine scheme as infighting erupts

Ursula von der Leyen urged to resign by Estonian MEP

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Brussels has been hit by a wave of criticism over its vaccine rollout which is operating at a snail’s pace compared to the UK. Since last month the bloc has been grappling to find solutions to the setbacks after the supply of vaccines produced by Pfizer/BionNTech and AstraZeneca were slowed down.

Pfizer/BioNTech told the bloc in January that they would need to temporarily slow deliveries to European countries to upgrade their facilities.

And the bloc was hit by a reduction in vaccine supplies from AstraZeneca due to production problems.

Member states have been highly critical of EU bosses’ handling of the crisis, which continues to drag on.

Now, frustrated European leaders are snubbing the club and taking matters into their own hands.

Politicians in France are started to question if they would be better going it alone while seven in 10 Germans are pointing the finger of blame at European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, British author Douglas Murray said the lack of brotherhood between the 27 member states flies in the face of arguments Remainers used in the run up to the 2016 EU referendum.

He said: “For years, British Remainers countered that our stability, like that of every country in Europe, depended on EU membership.

“Well, now the EU is fracturing at a rate that even the most extreme eurosceptic would hardly have dared to predict.

“After a decade spent staggering through one financial crisis after another, the EU has faced yet another catastrophe – Covid – and has once again been found wanting.”

He said rather than a disaster, the Covid vaccine rollout should have been a “triumph” for the bloc.

He pointed to the EU’s “combined weight of wealth, scientific knowledge and sheer purchasing power”.

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Given all these factors, he suggested Europe could have produced a “world-beating programme for the bloc’s 750 million citizens.”

Instead, Mr Murray argued that “even the most ardent europhiles are admitting what anyone can see: the EU response has been a disaster. “

The UK on the other hand is leading the pack when it comes to vaccines.

Britain has the world’s fifth-worst official Covid death toll, with 120,365 fatalities.

However, the early drive to secure mass vaccine supplies means one in three adults has now had a first shot and daily death rates have started to fall.

Since the first jab was administered in early December, more than 17.2 million people have received the first dose.

Over 604,000 people have been injected for the second time, making them almost fully protected against Covid.

The Government said on Sunday that all adults in Britain would be offered a first shot by the end of July.

Ministers also have a target to give a first dose to all over-50s by April 15.

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