EU news: Cracks erupt as MEP turns screw on Brussels double-standards on Covid vaccine | World | NewsFebruary 16, 2021
MEP Antonio Rinaldi also criticised Ursula von der Leyen for agreeing on vaccine contracts three months after the UK did. In a bold move, the MEP questioned why Germany was able to secure a separate vaccine deal even though the EU Commission has so far led the process on behalf of the bloc. With Italy reeling from the devastating first wave of the virus, the MEP called on new Prime Minister Mario Draghi, to stand up to Brussels and buy more vital vaccines for Italy.
He said: “Three days ago, Ms Ursula von der Leyen came to the European Parliament and I heard her mea culpa speech.
“She was admitting the mistakes of the vaccination plan.
“What went wrong? Well, it started three months after the rest of the countries.
“And the number of vaccines was also wrong.
“If Merkel buys more vaccines for Germany, she is good and everything is fine, but if Italy does it, we are dangerous sovereigntists.
“They ask us not to do it, please, but I hope Draghi has more power than Conte to protect the interests of our country.
“If Merkel does it for hers, why can’t we?”
Last year, the EU Commission declared it would lead the vaccine procurement scheme despite states such as Germany, already being in talks with the companies.
In September, the German government also confirmed that it had secured 30 million additional doses from the company.
Previously, Ms von der Leyen had said: “We have all agreed, legally binding, that there will be no parallel negotiations, no parallel contracts.
“We’re all working together.”
The bloc has so fair stated the separate agreement does not violate the EU’s strategy in good faith.
While may states within the bloc began their vaccine rollout in December, they have struggled to match the UK’s large total.
The EU is holding talks with Moderna to buy more vaccines in order to aid its stalled programme.
It has set the target of vaccinating 70 percent of the population by the end of the summer.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.