Thursday, 15 Apr 2021

Macron ignores UK and praises USA in humiliating admission – EU didn’t ‘shoot for stars’

Macron and Merkel 'created doubt' over AstraZeneca says Redwood

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The French President said European leaders failed to see COVID-19 vaccines would be developed so quickly, in a humbling interview yesterday. But whilst he praised the United States for its “ambition and madness” in procuring vaccine doses as early as summer 2020, President Macron failed to mention the UK’s successful efforts in its vaccine rollout.

The shortcoming did not go unnoticed.

Euronews political editor Darren McCaffrey tweeted: “Interestingly of course while pointing out the EU’s lack of ambition and praising the Americans – Emmanuel Macron doesn’t mention the UK – wonder why?”

President Macron told Greek television channel ERT: “Everybody, all the experts said: Never in the history of mankind was a vaccine developed in less than a year.

“We didn’t shoot for the stars.

“That should be a lesson for all of us. We were wrong to lack ambition, to lack the madness, I would say, to say: It’s possible, let’s do it.”

European Union leaders are struggling to speed up vaccinations, trailing countries like Britain and the United States and facing supply delays.

President Macron himself has been criticised at home for a faltering rollout which has been slowed by bureaucracy and public mistrust of vaccines.

The French leader added: “We didn’t think it would happen that quickly… You can give that to the Americans, as early as the summer of 2020 they said: let’s pull out all the stops and do it.

“As far as we’re concerned, we didn’t go fast enough, strong enough on this.

“We thought the vaccines would take time to take off.”

The EU tightened its control of coronavirus vaccine exports on Wednesday, giving it greater scope to block shipments to countries with higher inoculation rates such as Britain, or which are not sharing doses they produce.

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Mr Macron also defended the importance of “having a real European vaccination” and “clear rules so that within the European area we can reopen” by the summer with the implementation place of a health certificate, currently under discussion at EU level.

EU leaders are set to discuss proposals aimed at tightening restrictions on vaccine exports at a virtual European Council summit, after London and Brussels moved to calm tensions following weeks of ramped-up rhetoric.

A joint statement said the two sides were seeking a “win-win” deal to increase supplies across the UK and EU as the bloc’s dispute with AstraZeneca continued.

Amid production delays and questions about the effectiveness of its shot, AstraZeneca said in a statement early on Thursday its vaccine has 76 percent efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 and is 100 percent effective against severe or critical disease and hospitalisation due to coronavirus.

It comes after the European Commission set out a tougher regime to stem supplies of jabs to nations faring better in the pandemic as the bloc’s states faced a third wave of cases.

The move could result in supplies of vaccines from the EU to the UK being blocked unless shipments of AstraZeneca jabs also travel from Britain to the continent.

Boris Johnson warned that a “blockade” on vaccines could result in “long-term” damage but said he continued to work with his European partners.

The European Union has only vaccinated 13 per 100 people so far, compared to 45.2 in the UK and 37.2 in the US.

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