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culture clash Why the dysfunctional EU have been shown up for what they are in the nasty vaccine war

Britain are not the villians in the vaccine battle and they need to be our escape out of lockdown

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Ursula von der Leyen and Boris Johnson (PA)

Ursula von der Leyen and Boris Johnson (PA)

Ursula von der Leyen and Boris Johnson (PA)

IT has become a vaccine war the European Union is losing on a grand scale, with a decision made by the British government in the first week of July last year exposing the inadequacies of a deeply flawed cabal.

The date was July 10th, 2020 and not for the first time, Boris Johnson and his Conservative government in London stood accused of making a decision that was based on British exceptionalism rather than common sense.

After the trauma of Brexit had stretched relations between the British and the EU negotiators, the prospect of the newly 'liberated' UK signing up to the EU vaccination programme became the latest source of tension between negotiating teams in Brussels and London and unlike Brexit, there was to be no last-minute deal to proceed in harmony.

UK business secretary Alok Sharma made the final call to step back from talks with the EU over Britain joining their ill-fated vaccination programme, with the UK’s ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow, sending a letter to the European Commission confirming the ‘no deal’.

"The UK Government has decided on this occasion not to join this internal EU initiative, but given our shared interest in ensuring that vaccines are available to all, we are committed to strengthening our collaboration with the EU outside the framework," Barrow wrote.

The terms being demanded by the EU for Britain to join their vaccine programme were predictably unpalatable to a UK government that had fought so hard to be freed from the clutches of the collective that has morphed from its initial starting point of being a trading block into an all-powerful movement that overrides the sovereignty of domestic governments.

The demands of the EU for the UK to be part of their vaccine programme read like this:

* Britain would be required to immediately cease all negotiations with any supplier also in talks with the EU.

* The European Commission would have an exclusive right to negotiate with vaccine manufacturers on Britain's behalf.

* The UK, unlike EU Member States, would have no say on which companies to negotiate with, how many doses to buy, at what price and on what delivery schedule.

They were ridiculous terms Johnson's government, elected on a promise that they would break ties with the EU, simply couldn't sign up to and in any case, British politicians believes the EU vaccine programme was doomed to failure.

Their decision was made all the more clear as they had already agreed to a deal with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to provide £65.5million of UK taxpayers money for the development of their vaccine, with scientists at Oxford University offered as part of a deal that included a clause to ensure the first batches of any successful vaccine would be distributed to Britain first.

At that point, EU chiefs had yet to sign any agreement with AstraZeneca and after long talks that saw officials in Brussels keen to securely financially prudent agreements over vaccines, an agreement subsequently signed stating the vaccine makers would make 'best effort' to deliver the 300 million mentioned in the contract.

Yet you don't need to be a legal scribe to understand that a contract 'guaranteeing' delivery of a product is a little more secure than one that uses the term 'best effort', with Britain's boldness in backing the AstraZeneca vaccine and providing the funds of its development reaping huge rewards.

Would the EU have chipped in some cash to refund Britain if the AstraZeneca vaccine failed to produce results? Of course not, but they are still demanding a slice of the pie they didn't fancy investing in last summer from those who dared to step outside of the EU straight-jacket and have found the freedom is rewarding.

More than 55 per-cent of the UK population have now received their first Covid-19 vaccine, fatalities from Covid-19 are falling at a rapid rate and a roadmap to all social restrictions being lifted by June 21st will step up on Monday when outdoor gatherings of six people will be permitted, with pubs and gyms reopening on April 12th and a real moon prevailing that there is a light a the end of the tunnel.

Meanwhile, a new wave of Covid-19 is taking off in Europe at a time when senior leaders led by France President Emmanuel Macron have embarked on a truly shameful public campaign to discredit the AstraZeneca, stirring up the already considerable caution around the jab to a point that many will now be reluctant to take it.

That was followed by a threat from a clearly desperate EU supreme leader Ursula von der Leyen to block the export of all vaccine from her domain, as their fight to cover up a poor deal to acquire the vaccine they have tried to claim is not fit for purpose (despite all scientists confirming it is highly effective and safe) continues at a pace.

The truth must be that Von der Leyen and her EU regime appreciate the abject failure of their vaccine programme may start a chain of events that could see the destruction of their dream of a European Super State, with the European army she craves at the heart of a plan to tighten control over member states.

Yet as Irish people look in on the UK with an envious eye as their version of a vaccine roll-out highlights the dangers of devolving power away from national governments and into the EU machine, maybe those pointing a finger at Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar, his predecessor in that role, need to direct their ire elsewhere.

If you want to find someone to blame for your elderly relatives' failure to get a Covid jab, direct your annoyance towards Von der Leyen and EU Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides, who have done an appalling job of acquiring and distributing vaccines to member states and continue to have control of when Ireland emerges from lockdown.

Naturally, as the EU is eager to control over every facet of our lives, Ireland is not permitted to sign up for our own deal with AstraZenca or any vaccine producer the EU have agreements in place with, ensuring any hopes of emerging from the enduring lockdown is in the hands of failing decision-makers no one in Ireland voted for.

There were plenty of sniggers and smirks as the UK lived up their arrogant reputation and believed they could go it alone by voting to leave the European Union, but the events of the last few months should have opened your eyes to the reality that membership of the EU club comes with conditions are increasingly hard to accept.

Irexit anyone?

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