Nick Clegg, who was one of the most prominent anti-Brexit and pro-Remain campaigners in the UK, has said that something has gone “very badly wrong” with the EU, and that the bloc has let down “millions of Europeans.”
The former UK Deputy Prime Minister, who had been one of the most vocal voices opposing Brexit during the 2016 Referendum (even authoring a book entitled “How To Stop Brexit”), was asked his thoughts on the EU’s handling of the covid-19 pandemic during an LBC interview this week.
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“I think the EU has let itself down, and more importantly, has let millions of Europeans down by not providing people with vaccines on the scale with the speed that has been possible in the UK and elsewhere,” Clegg told interviewer Nick Ferrari.
“Across the EU people are waiting for their vaccines impatiently when they see that in the US and the UK and Israel and other countries vaccines are being rolled out much more rapidly. I hope they catch up because Covid anywhere is Covid everywhere, so we all have an interest in everyone to get access to vaccines more rapidly.
“But clearly something has gone very badly wrong indeed in recent months in the EU.”
When asked why he thought the European response had been so poor compared to the rest of the developed world, Clegg replied: “I suspect it’s a combination of governments not placing very big bets on sort of pre-buying a whole bunch of, at that point, untested vaccines, as being the case in the UK in the US.
“I think it’s also just this age-old division of labour between the European Commission in Brussels, which was doing some of the negotiations, and the member states are responsible for actually distributing [the vaccines] – and clearly something got lost in translation. I think it’s a combination of all of those.”
As of last week, around 18% of the EU population had received the covid-19 jab, compared with 55% in the UK.