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Macron ally claims EU needed ‘MORE EUROPE’ to fight Covid crisis despite jabs fiasco

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Brussels was harshly criticised for its vaccination programme which trails significantly behind the UK and US. However speaking to France24 Clement Beaune, the French Europe minister, called for more European integration.

He argued there as “not enough Europe rather than too much Europe” as member states battled with COVID-19.

Mr Beaune, a close ally of Emmanuel Macron, was taking part in a programme to mark May 9, Europe Day.

Also taking part were Bulgarian European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and centre-left French MEP Raphael Glucksmann.

Asked about his attitude towards Europe Day Mr Beaune replied: “It’s a day of hope, of commitment.

“Europe will be built in crisis and it will be the sum of the solutions brought to this crisis.”

There is anger across Europe over the pace of the EU vaccination programme.

Rather than buying vaccines individually EU members agreed to hand responsibility to the European Commission.

The Commission vowed to vaccinate 70 percent of the EU’s adult population by July but this may now be missed.

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The UK has given at least one coronavirus vaccine to over half its population with 27 percent having received two.

Brussels became locked in a protracted battle with British-Swedish drug manufacturer AstraZeneca, which is making the Oxford University vaccine.

The EU has warned the company it may face legal action unless it delivers another 120 million vaccine doses by the end of June.

It claims 90 million jabs it was promised by the end of March did not arrive.

In January the EU briefly announced it would suspend the Northern Ireland protocol, creating a border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, in a bid to stop the export of AstraZeneca jabs to Britain.

However it was forced to back down after a furious reaction from London, Dublin and Belfast.

On Thursday Boris Johnson told Parliament there will be an independent public inquiry into the Government’s coronavirus response.

This will begin in spring 2022 and will have the power to take oral evidence under oath.

Mr Johnson said he expects Britain to return to “close to normal” next month.

However he warned: “There is in any case a high likelihood of a surge this winter.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

 



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