German Media Calls EU Vaccine Drama ‘Best Advertisement for Brexit’

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 31: Pro Brexit supporters gather ahead of the Brexit Day Celebration Party hosted by Leave Means Leave at Parliament Square on January 31, 2020 in London, England. At 11.00pm on Friday 31st January the UK and Northern Ireland exits the European Union, 188 weeks after the …
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Major German newspaper Die Zeit has labelled the European Union’s failure to approve vaccines and secure their delivery as “the best advertisement for Brexit”.

Nigel Farage’s prediction that the vaccine production crisis in the EU would expose the bloc for caring more about the European Project then about the healthcare of its people is already coming to pass, with the German newspaper being one of the first to point out how the UK is faring better in taking care of Britons than the EU is of safeguarding Europeans.

“The best advertisement for Brexit,” Die Zeit‘s Wednesday opinion article is headlined.

“In the dispute over the delivery delay of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the EU Commission is currently making the best advertisement for Brexit: It is acting slowly, bureaucratically, and protectionist. And if something goes wrong, it’s everyone else’s fault. This is how many Britons see the EU, and so the prejudices were confirmed at the beginning of the week,” wrote Bettina Schulz, a freelance London correspondent, in her analysis.

Both Pfizer and AstraZeneca announced earlier this week that there were production delays which will result in setbacks to delivery of large proportions of its orders to the European Union.

With the bloc having vaccinated only two per cent of its population while Brexit Britain has vaccinated ten per cent, the European Commission responded that it would invoke powers to block the export of coronavirus vaccines to non-EU countries, including the UK, if producers failed to deliver their quotas to the continent. While doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine are being produced in the UK, the country also has an order of 3.5 million expected for delivery in the next few weeks from the company’s Belgian laboratories.

The situation also gave rise to rumours amongst EU diplomats in Brussels that vaccines destined for the bloc were sent to the UK, allegedly because they were making more money out of UK doses than European ones — an accusation denied by AstraZeneca’s CEO Pascal Soriot, whose company is developing the vaccines at no profit, and who pointed out that Britain had agreed to a contract with the company a full three months before the EU had.

“The Johnson administration is doing everything it can to make it a success. It is currently working,” the opinion piece continued, contrasting the dates of approval for the available vaccines and contracts between the UK and EU.

Countries like France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany were prohibited from following through on the preliminary agreements they had made in June until the bloc’s official agreement was made in late August — a factor the drugs company argues is the source of the disparity between the productions of UK and EU orders.

“In the UK, the government’s independent and swift vaccination policy is seen as evidence that the EU is too bureaucratic and slow — and is now left behind,” the German journalist said in an astounding admission.

German tabloid Bild also criticised Germany’s “snail-paced” progress with vaccinations and the European Commission’s “greed order for vaccines” while “the Brexit Brits continue to receive full supplies”. The tabloid added that “the EU took an enormous amount of time” to approve contracts with the drugs companies, blaming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for placing “junk orders” three months too late.

Both newspapers quoted a pro-EU source at AstraZeneca who told British journalist Robert Peston: “I understand Brexit better, now.”

On Tuesday, Brexit leader Nigel Farage remarked that the EU was “very, very scared of Brexit”.

“They can’t afford for Brexit Britain to do well, because if Brexit Britain does well, countries all over the EU will see their populations saying, ‘In the biggest pandemic… the Brits were in a position to act, to do things for themselves and we were reliant on these people in Brussels who only look after their own interests and the political project that is called the European Union,'” Mr Farage said.

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