A German MEP has called on EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen to “take full responsibility” and resign over the bloc’s “disastrous” coronavirus vaccine programme.
Gunnar Back also praised the UK for taking “a different path” to Europe on its vaccine rollout.
Beck, an EU lawyer and lecturer at the University of London, said: “She took responsibility for the rollout and it has proved a total disaster so, yes, she should go. The UK, which has not taken part in the EU strategy, this week has eased restrictions, but some EU Member States have gone back into another lockdown.”
“Von der Leyen was a disastrous minister in Germany and has proved the same now over the vaccine strategy as President of the Commission,” he added.
In an interview, he told the Parliament Magazine: “The Commission took a calculated risk last summer in ordering large quantities of vaccines from six vaccine developers, some of whom have not yet developed a vaccine. The UK took a different path and the result is that the UK infection rates and deaths are now dramatically reduced while the EU has gone the other way.”
There are also the huge economic consequences of yet more lockdowns. If that is not a failure of policy, then what is? If that is not a reason to resign, then what is?
“The problem is that the EU can mismanage with impunity, but that is a bad habit to get into and it is time that this changed… The fact is that there has been a colossal failure here.
The Commission president said 100 million Covid jabs had been administered to date and that Brussels was “accelerating the delivery of vaccines”.
“Of these vaccinations, more than a quarter are second doses, which means that more than 27 million Europeans have been fully vaccinated,” she said on Twitter.
She also announced that vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and BioNTech will bring forward their delivery of 50 million doses to April, bringing the number delivered to 250 million.
A Commission source sought to defend the EU’s vaccine performance, saying: “It is normally up to the vaccine developer to transport the vaccines to the central vaccines hub of the Member State. The further distribution to other vaccination centres in the Member State is the responsibility of the latter.”