EU diplomats rejoice that France and Germany “take all the hits of Covid” in WhatsApp messages World | News

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Mar Aguilera Vaqués, professor of constitutional law at the University of Barcelona



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Vaccines: Europe is “so far behind the UK”, says professor

The UK vaccination program continues to be a success story. The UK started administering the Moderna vaccine yesterday, in what has been hailed as “another key milestone” in the fight against the coronavirus. So far 60% of the UK adult population have received at least one dose.

For EU countries, it’s a completely different picture.
The bloc, which has 27 nations, is still stuck at 13%.

This can arguably be attributed to the slowness of decision-making in Brussels and clumsy contracts.

Last year, European governments transferred responsibility for vaccine procurement to the European Commission.

Indeed, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it would have strained EU cohesion if Germany had secured privileged supplies of the Berlin-funded Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

While many now criticize Merkel’s decision, uncovered reports suggest the Chancellor was right.

EU diplomats joked about France and Germany ‘taking all the hits of Covid’ in WhatsApp messages (Image: GETTY)
The UK started administering the Moderna vaccine yesterday, which has been hailed as ‘another key milestone’ (Image: GETTY)
In April last year, EU countries did not wait for the Commission to start making deals.
France and Spain began talks with Moderna separately, and in mid-April, Paris and Berlin began negotiating together to buy vaccines.

On 12 June, EU27 health ministers approved a Commission purchasing plan on their behalf.

However, the Franco-German initiative continued to move forward, having invited the Netherlands and Italy to join their buyers’ club.

The quartet was known as the “Inclusive Vaccine Alliance” and in June they announced an agreement for between 300 million and 400 million doses of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine.

POLITICO’s Jillian Deutsch and Sarah Wheaton recalled how the deal with AstraZeneca has been described as little more than a one-page sheet of terms between companies and health ministers.

However, reporters noted that this was politically significant as it showed that the four countries – representing four of the EU’s five largest economies – were not afraid “to use their significant purchasing power and make money. part of their powerful pharmaceutical industries ”.

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Live Covid Vaccinations (Image: EXPRESS.CO.UK)

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President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen (Image: GETTY)

The smaller countries in the bloc saw the move as a threat, to the point that EU diplomats started half-joking on WhatsApp that France and Germany could take all the blows of Covid for them- same, added the report.

Ms Deutsch and Ms Wheaton wrote in January: “Then-Belgian Health Minister Maggie De Block criticized the Oxford / AstraZeneca deal as an ‘unreasonable’ move that weakened everyone.

“In a private WhatsApp group, some European diplomats half-joked that big countries would take all vaccines – a sign that many did not trust the Inclusive Vaccine Alliance to be truly inclusive.

“An EU diplomat outside the Alliance said countries were concerned that there were two competing avenues: one with the Alliance and the other, backed by the Commission, with Spain and poorest countries.

“The task of competing with the United States seemed daunting already; concurrently competing with the alliance seemed “impossible”, the diplomat said. “

This is not the first time that small EU countries have shown resentment towards dominant countries, such as Germany and France.

In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Mar Aguilera Vaqués, professor of constitutional law at the University of Barcelona, ​​warned that Germany’s highest court could force member states to review the € 750 billion (£ 668 billion) EU Recovery Fund, also known as Next Generation EU.

Last week, the German Federal Constitutional Court, based in the city of Karlsruhe, blocked the process of ratifying the decision on own resources – the legislative instrument that would allow the European Commission to borrow money directly from the financial markets and pay it back over the next decades. .

Friday, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was ready to approve Germany’s ratification of the legal text, but the Constitutional Court prevented him from approving it.

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The UK started administering the Moderna vaccine yesterday, in what has been hailed as

Mar Aguilera Vaqués, professor of constitutional law at the University of Barcelona (Image: EXPRESS.CO.UK)

Mar Aguilera Vaqués, professor of constitutional law at the University of Barcelona Mar Aguilera Vaqués, professor of constitutional law at the Universe

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Image: GETTY)

This was so that he could first consider an emergency appeal filed by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and a civic group called Bündnis Bürgerwille, or Citizens’ Will Alliance.

Both claim the recovery fund is illegal and violates EU treaties.

Reacting to this news, the European Commission reaffirmed its confidence in the legal validity of the own resources decision.

However, Ms Aguilera Vaqués argued that member states may have to return to Brussels and change the recovery fund if the court finds the bloc’s recovery plan unconstitutional.

She said: “Whether it is illegal or not, it is for the German Constitutional Court to decide and for the European Court of Justice to consider…

“But I am a professor of constitutional law.

“My international law colleagues always say that international law is above domestic law.

“On the other hand, we constitutional professors say this is the constitution of the country. “

Asked what she thinks will happen, Mrs Aguilera Vaqués said: “Of course the German Constitutional Court could very well say” we cannot do this, because it is against the constitution. “.

“” So we change the constitution or the EU changes the stimulus fund. “”

According to her, the latter is more likely.

She added: “Everyone knows…

“We’ll see… but Germany is a leading country in the EU, so whatever its constitutional court says is having an impact for sure. “

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