The French President made an unprecedented attacks on the bloc’s joint vaccine scheme ahead of a crunch summit of European leaders. The pint-sized leader blamed the EU’s cumbersome joint buy-up of jabs as he became the first of the bloc’s most influential figures to take aim at the immunisation fiasco. He said: “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.”
Former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker issued similar criticism, claiming the EU had been too bureaucratic and penny-pinching with its rollout.
He told the BBC: “Britain took the decision months ago to have an emergency decision-based approach.
“Whereas the European Commission and member states were more budget conscious… We were too cautious, and Britain was not cautious enough, but it was revealed to be the right approach.”
And German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested the bloc should focus on boosting production rather than confiscating life-saving vaccines destined for Britain.
Speaking in the Bundestag, she said: “The problem at the moment with the vaccine supply isn’t so much due to the question how much was ordered, but more about how much can be manufactured on European soil.
“Because we can clearly see: British manufacturing plants manufacture for Great Britain, the US aren’t exporting anything, and therefore we rely on what can be produced in Europe and we have to expect this virus will preoccupy us for a long time.”
The admissions were made ahead of a crunch video call between European leaders to discuss the bloc’s troubled vaccines rollout.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz blamed the bungled vaccine scheme on a shortfall of supplies across the Continent.
Current Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen pushed for EU capitals to endorse her plan to block exports of jabs to countries with higher vaccination rates than the bloc.
British officials fear we will fall foul of the measures because we have administered 46 jabs per 100 people, compared to the EU’s rate of just 13.
But Health Secretary Mr Hancock insisted Britain hadn’t suffered similar shortages because its contracts were more superior to the ones signed by Brussels.
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Boris Johnson’s ex-chief adviser Dominic Cummings joined the attack on the Brussels rollout to agree with Mr Juncker.
The former No 10 guru said the UK should avoid responding to the Commission’s “meltdown” with a “tit-for-tat” blockade of our own.
He urged the Prime Minister to “make a generous offer over the heads of EU leaders” and offer jabs straight to desperate European citizens.