Brexit Britain is an agile ‘speedboat’ running past EU ‘oil tanker’ on Covid vaccinations, admits Brussels boss

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GREAT BRITAIN is an agile speedboat that has a head start on vaccines compared to the EU’s heavy tanker, admitted the Brussels boss.

Even Chief Eurocrat Ursula von der Leyen acknowledged how Brexit helped the UK overtake the rest of Europe with its rollout of jabs.

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Ursula von der Leyen is under fire over slow deployment of EU jabsCredit: AFP or licensors

On the other hand, she admitted that the bloc had made big mistakes in its own chaotic plan that would have held the UK back.

And she ultimately took personal responsibility for the blunder that saw Brussels almost trigger a vaccine border in Northern Ireland.

The Commission boss made the admission after being asked why the deployment of British jabs was so much more successful than that of the EU.

It comes after years of Eurocrats sneeringly claiming that the UK would be too small to stand on its own outside the bloc.

Instead, Mrs von der Leyen accidentally pleaded for Brexit with her remarks.

She said: “Alone, a country can be a speedboat, while the EU is more like an oil tanker.

“Before concluding a contract with a pharmaceutical company, the 27 Member States had five full days to say whether they agreed or not.

“This naturally delays the process. We have to constantly put pressure on ourselves to make every step of the decision-making process as quick and efficient as possible.”

The snail-pace deployment in Brussels has come under heavy criticism, with the bloc lagging behind Britain, the United States and Israel.

Germany’s finance minister called the EU project “really crap” at a stormy meeting of Angela Merkel’s cabinet this week, according to reports.

But Ms. von der Leyen said she was “absolutely convinced” that the bloc had adopted the right approach by pooling the purchases of jabs.

EU Foreign Affairs Chief Josep Borrell with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

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EU Foreign Affairs Chief Josep Borrell with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey LavrovCredit: AP: Associated press
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, left, lambasted the EU's vaccine program

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German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, left, lambasted the EU’s vaccine programCredit: Getty – Pool

Despite the rain of criticism, she insisted: “On these vaccines, we worked faster than usual.

“I can’t even imagine what it would have meant for Europe, in terms of unity, if one or more Member States had access to vaccines and the others did not.

“From an economic point of view, too, we had to work on 27, because otherwise restarting the economy would have been impossible.”

Today the EU foreign chief admitted that the bloc’s failed jab program could mean it has to look to Russia for more jabs.

Josep Borrell praised Moscow for developing the Sputnik V vaccine and said it could help solve Europe’s supply problems.

At a press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, he expressed hope that he will soon receive the green light for use in the EU.

He said: “This is good news for all of humanity because it means we will have more tools to deal with the pandemic.

“As you know, we are facing a shortage of vaccines and if there is another source of supply [that’s] Welcome.”

He told Mr. Lavrov: “Congratulations on Russian scientific capabilities.”

Ms von der Leyen admitted that the EU had “underestimated the difficulties” related to the deployment of new Covid vaccines.

She said: “I realize, looking in the rearview mirror, that we should have thought more, in parallel, about mass production and the challenges it poses.”

The EU only stung 3.22% of its adult population, compared to 15.5% of people who have suffered at least one jab in the UK.

In the interview with European newspapers, the head of the Commission also took full responsibility for the recent dispute over the Irish border.

She said she “regrets” last Friday’s decision to trigger a safeguard clause in the Brexit deal that would have put in place a vaccine border in Ireland.

At first she tried to blame her business manager Valdis Dombrovskis for the mistake, but now she has admitted that the responsibility ends with her.

The move sparked a furious backlash in London, Belfast and Dublin and was quickly reversed by panicked Eurocrats.

But it has fueled Unionists’ calls for the removal of the Border Repair Package, which imposes controls on goods between Britain and the NI.

Ursula von der Leyen calls for a new public-private approach to detect pandemics earlier and develop and manufacture vaccines faster at scale


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