A Remain Risk Exposed

The EU wishes to punish the UK for showing why a majority of British voters preferred to believe their own government’s claims to efficiency and effectiveness rather than the propaganda put out by the EU

A major supplier of Covid-19 vaccine, AstraZeneca, has said that the number of doses of its vaccine ordered by the EU will have to be reduced because of production problems at its manufacturing centres in Belgium and Germany. In response the EU has declared that the company must divert some of the doses ordered earlier by the British government to make up the shortfall in the EU.

Meanwhile Germany has expressed doubts about the vaccine’s efficacy and stated that it will not be used for the most vulnerable group, the over-65s. The country has also ordered its own supply of American vaccines, in contradiction of EU policy that no member state should go out on its own.

The EU has been criticised for being slow, bureaucratic and inefficient in response to the pandemic [1].

We all make mistakes, and the UK Government has made many of its own, but this EU attack is a big one that will cost lives. During the pandemic all administrations have been operating in the dark, with any action liable to have unexpected, adverse consequences as well as benefits. In this case speed was obviously needed rather than flaunting the power of a big market. Bigness, and thereby power, is a key incentive driving the bureaucratic mind; Ever Greater Control might best describe the goal.

Here we see, starkly, the true value of ‘European values’; they promote their supposed values but don’t stick to them when they appear to be inconvenient [2]. If there is a case for diverting UK vaccine doses elsewhere why should EU member countries stand ahead of others, in South Africa or Peru perhaps? The answer is that the EU seeks to protect its own (as it perhaps must) while protecting itself against potential competition from others (which it should not therefore declare as a value).

The UK has done more towards decarbonisation than the EU, it has given more aid, it is more open to trade with other regions (even when constrained by EU membership to impose tariffs and discriminatory regulations). Perhaps the EU should import a few UK values rather than try exporting and promoting ones that it clearly doesn’t hold..

Imagine the EU’s frustration: “How could the UK do better? How dare it? What about the Level Playing Field? [3] The AstraZeneca vaccine is useless anyway, but that’s no reason to deny us an equal share. OK, we haven’t approved it yet but why should the UK be able to use it when we’re not? We won’t let them have the vials and other stuff they need and we won’t let them have our vaccine, never mind that the UK committed to ordering it and paying more for it.”

It’s the Germans who are behaving worst, condemning the AZ vaccine as unfit for the most vulnerable, over 65s, and so risking that those who need the protection will refuse it. But this fits a pattern: it’s Germany that still opens new coal mines; Germany that intends to import more gas from Russia via a new pipeline (Nordstream 2), trashing Ukraine’s interests and ignoring Putin’s (literally) poisonous behaviour; and Germany that wants to protect its exports to China with a new trade agreement, despite the human rights and anti-democratic behaviour of the latter which the UK openly condemns along with others (mainly in the Anglosphere).

When it matters, German interests come first – first to order more vaccine for itself rather than rely on the common good overseen by the EU Commission, just as it was among the first to restrict fair shares of personal protection equipment with other member states when the pandemic started.

Macron has also undermined confidence in the AZ vaccine by stating that it is “quasi-ineffective” in the over 65s – that’s despite the European Medicines Agency having finally approved it, including for use in the over-65s, and the French public already being dangerously anti-vaccine.

On Friday (29/01/21) the European Commission announced a ‘hard border’ in Ireland to prevent vaccines being sneaked into the UK via the Republic, before retracting that; the Irish Government wasn’t even told. We could not find a tougher statement of principle used by the EU in the Brexit ‘negotiations’ than the avoidance of any border – EU hypocrites!

The EU is best when things are running in its favour; not that self-interest is a uniquely German failing but the spite and hypocrisy of the EU is clear [4]. We have asked often why the costs of remaining in this deadly project are so rarely considered [5].

[1] https://www.economist.com/leaders/2021/01/30/europe-needs-quicker-vaccinations-and-more-stimulus?frsc=dg%7Ce

[2] Only Believe

[3] The Levellers

[4] Themes-10: Breaking EU Rules

[5] Pull and Push

Post-posting Update

No sooner had we completed the draft of this post the EU did a U-turn and said that the safety clause in the Northern Ireland Protocol would not be triggered after all. However, the damage had already been done and the hostility, even from within the ‘club’, was overwhelming. Nevertheless they remain determined to achieve their spiteful goal by other means. The Commission has enacted a vaccine export law that can hinder the UK’s programme but not those of other nearby nations, such as Ukraine, Iceland, Morocco and several others.

By failing to tell, let alone consult, the governments of Ireland and the UK they abrogated the Protocol that they had put so much effort into obliging the UK government to sign, using the Good Friday Agreement as a weapon. Now they ignore their own ‘values’. The relevant clause can be found in Will the UK Be Sovereign Again?, but we repeat it here:

ANNEX 7 (Ref. Article 16, above):

1. Where the Union or the United Kingdom is considering taking safeguard measures under Article 16(1) of this Protocol, it shall, without delay, notify the Union or the United Kingdom, as the case may be, through the Joint Committee and shall provide all relevant information.

2. The Union and the United Kingdom shall immediately enter into consultations in the Joint Committee with a view to finding a commonly acceptable solution

3. The Union or the United Kingdom, as the case may be, may not take safeguard measures until 1 month has elapsed after the date of notification under point 1, unless the consultation procedure under point 2 has been concluded before the expiration of the state limit….

The EU has ignored all three points, which are legally binding.


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