The French president noted that the 27-member bloc had been “wrong” to act slowly and “lack ambition” in pushing forward plans for COVID inoculations.
“Everyone, all the experts have said: never in the history of mankind has a vaccine been developed in less than a year,” said Mr. Macron.
“We didn’t shoot for the stars. It should be a lesson for all of us. We were wrong to lack ambition, to lack madness I would say, to say: it’s possible, let’s do it. ”
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Speaking to Greek television station ERT, the 43-year-old highlighted favorably the faster strategy adopted in the United States, which he said was a plan to ‘do whatever it takes’.
“As far as we are concerned, we did not go fast enough, strong enough on this,” he added.
“We thought the vaccines would take a long time to get off the ground. ”
So far the EU has led a notoriously slow vaccination program plagued by administrative and logistical delays – and resulted in a row over doses being sent to the UK.
Britain, like the United States, has led a relatively rapid campaign, having administered at least one dose of the vaccine to more than 28 million people.
About 2.5 million people have completed the two-dose course.
As of March 23, that meant nearly 46 shots per 100 people had been administered in Britain, according to figures compiled by Our World in Data.
This can be compared to less than 14 doses per 100 people administered in the EU.
EU leaders are due to meet for a summit on Thursday to discuss a common roadmap to emerge from the pandemic, which comes as several member states strive to suppress a new wave of COVID infections in their respective countries.
Vaccine exports will also be discussed after the EU executive on Wednesday unveiled plans to tighten surveillance and block shipments to countries with higher vaccination rates.
So far, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden and Denmark have all expressed reservations on the proposal, while a joint statement from Brussels and London has sought to ease tensions ensuring that they were looking for “a win-win situation” to “develop the vaccine supply for all our citizens”.