That's why we left! EU's vaccine 'fiasco' typifies bloc's inherent problem – 'It's a mess'

Professor Tim Congdon, who stood for UKIP in the 2010 general election, suggested by contrast, Britain’s speedy response would ensure its economy would recover between six and nine months before its European neighbours. Economist Prof Congdon was speaking during a webinar organised by the Bruges Group think tank on Friday, Britain at the Crossroads: Options for the UK, which considered what the nation’s priorities needed to be having quit the EU.

The one-time adviser to the Conservative Government between 1993 and 1997 told fellow attendees: “I am a Brexiteer and we want to have a European continent next to us that is stable, prosperous and successful and we want to be friends with them.

“I hope that they succeed in having vibrant, dynamic economies.

“But I’m sorry that’s not what’s going on at the moment.”

Prof Congdon explained: “This vaccine fiasco really tells you what’s wrong with the European Union.

“Basically, all members of the European Union have got two governments, all these nations have got two governments, in Brussels, one of the national capitals.

“These governments are in fact, governments are in conflict.

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“We are going to get the COVID virus under control probably six or nine months before our neighbours.”

French President Emmanuel Macron and the UK Prime Minister spoke yesterday about vaccine supplies, at Mr Johnson’s request, a French official confirmed today.

The pair spoke without any adviser on the French side, the official from the French presidency said, without offering more details.

Mrs von der Leyen had said vaccine maker AstraZeneca could face a ban on exports of doses if it did not meet its delivery obligations to the bloc.

EU leaders are expected to discuss the issue at a summit on Thursday.

Speaking today, European Commission president Eric Mamer insisted Brussels was not “banning vaccine exports” but simply wanted pharmaceutical firms to meet their contractual obligations to the bloc.

The European Union’s vaccination campaign is lagging well behind the UK’s, with an estimated 40 percent of Britons so far having had at least one jab, compared with 12 percent for the EU27, according to the Our World in Data website.

Mr Mamer told reporters in Brussels: “The president has given our view of what the situation is and what are the objectives that we are following.

“This is not about banning vaccine exports, this is about making sure that companies deliver on their commitments to the member states and the European Union that are inscribed in the contracts that they have with us.

“Therefore, this is our objective, to make sure that the contracts that we have signed are respected.”

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