Brexit Britain has shown Europe the way, writes DR GUNNAR BECK

So much for that famous German efficiency – Brexit Britain has shown Europe the way, writes MEP DR GUNNAR BECK

How you Brits must be breathing a sigh of relief that your lives are no longer run by bungling European bureaucrats. 

For the truth is that EU red tape – the customary mountain of Brussels paperwork that has led to shortages of vaccine supplies across the continent – is literally costing lives.

While a close relative of mine in her 80s has been told by the German government her Covid-19 vaccination has been fixed for late March or some time in April, 8.3 million people in Brexit Britain have already been inoculated. 

That means almost everybody in the German woman’s age group has received their first inoculation.

The simple reason is that Brexit has allowed Boris Johnson’s Government the flexibility to move quickly. 

How you Brits must be breathing a sigh of relief that your lives are no longer run by bungling European bureaucrats, writes GUNNAR BECK. Pictured: A Covid-19 vaccination centre at Wembley in London

It acted swiftly to identify which companies were leading the race to create a vaccine. It then snappily signed supply contracts and swept aside any bureaucratic obstacles to give early approval to the jabs.

So much for German efficiency. Instead, Britain has shown the way. And so much for the EU’s supposed negotiating power and economies of scale.

In short, the EU is furious to have been beaten at every stage of the vaccine race by Britain – which is why ministers from the 27 EU countries are belatedly trying to force AstraZeneca to give them more doses.

The statistics don’t lie. Britain is vaccinating between three and four times the number of people the EU is. 

By being agile and adopting a Britain-first policy, it has secured a reliable supply of vaccines stretching into the future, which will, in turn, allow it to save more lives. This has become a nightmare for the EU.

The bloc’s slow, dysfunctional approach has been a huge failure for the Commission in Brussels.Someone must take responsibility. In particular, Eurocrats must be held to account for this farce – and the buck stops with the Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

Now that details of how Brussels negotiated with AstraZeneca have been revealed, we can see how amateur the EU has been on crucial issues such as quantities and delivery dates.

It appears that the EU made basic errors by entering into contracts significantly later than Britain, and did not insist on timely or regular delivery dates.

In contrast, Britain held competent negotiations with AstraZeneca and was less sloppy on matters of price and quantity

And despite the EU’s claims, the truth is that being a large, multilingual, complex organisation does not favour swift action. 

Pictured: A person enters a coronavirus vaccination centre at Westfield Stratford in London

The great fear now for EU leaders, of course, is that a successful Brexit could become a model for other countries which want to leave the bloc. The vaccine row exacerbates that fear.

That is why we are seeing stories in German newspapers that the British vaccines have not been properly tested and that the Oxford AstraZeneca jab is ineffective for elderly people. If so, Brits may ask why the EU is so keen to get its hand on their share?

The central problem is that the member countries of the EU have surrendered their vaccine negotiations to the bureaucrats of Brussels. 

Dr Gunnar Beck (pictured) is MEP for the Alternativ für Deutschland (AfD) party

The justification is that collective bargaining means better prices and delivery times. In theory. But experience tells us that more, often than not, it actually leads to sub-optimal results.

The EU stuck to its slow, rigid procedures for approving new drugs, even as vaccines were pouring off the production lines – never mind the urgency of the crisis.

Another issue is the inevitable conflict of interests among 27 different countries. Some member states are unwilling to subordinate national interests, and there is too little resistance to business and political lobbying by von der Leyen’s Commission.

For example, although the French company Sanofi never gave any indication of being at the front of the game to produce a vaccine, the EU ordered as much from it as it did from Pfizer, which showed it would have an effective vaccine.

You have to wonder why. Meanwhile, freed from the shackles of Brussels, Britain took a calculated gamble and fast-tracked the vaccine approval on the assumption that speed was of the essence.

So far, it seems the UK’s more flexible, autonomous approach is more effective. By contrast, the EU’s handling of the situation has been an organisational shambles.

Commission president von der Leyen should resign.

  • Dr Gunnar Beck is MEP for the Alternativ für Deutschland (AfD) party. He is also a member of the working group on the Conference on the Future of Europe.

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