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By Pete Moore On March 4th, 2021

Italy has blocked the export of 250,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to Australia in an escalation of a row with the Anglo-Swedish company.

In the first such intervention under the EU’s controversial export authorisation scheme, the Italian government ordered that the doses remain in the bloc with the backing of the European commission.

The move will alarm those concerned that the EU is moving towards a protectionist approach to vaccine supply. The commission had repeatedly and publicly insisted that it did not intend to impose a ban.

That last line is correct. The EU has repeatedly said (when it’s not trying to put a border across Ireland) that it would not ban the export of vaccines. And Simon Coveney has the utter cheek to say that we aren’t trustworthy. Chapeau to his front.

Granted the EU is in a desperate state. Infections and deaths are on the rise again while they plummet in the UK. Johnny Continental is increasingly angry. But the EU’s one “achievement” in the last year is to pull off an investment deal with the Chinese Communist Party, the monstrous regime which infested the world with its virus in the first place.

Anyone with a sense of humility and self-reflection would shut up, put down the spade and start climbing out of that hole.

23 Responses to “THE EU IN A HOLE DIGS DEEPER”

  1. And this is the same Astra-Zeneca vaccine that Macron described as useless for over-65s but which France and Germany have finally authorised for that age-group this week.

    The EU’s vaccine roll-out has been a total shambles since last summer when they started “negotiating” with the drug companies. The contrast with the UK’s success story must be particularly galling for the Brit-bashing Macron. The UK has so far vaccinated 32% of its population compared to 7% in France and 8% in Germany.

  2. The EU is a ponderous tester and perhaps a bad negotiator, trying to get a cheaper deal than others, when price should be lower on their priority list.

    The shining star of all in this situation has been Israel, who was decisive in both approvals and negotiations. They bought from Moderna, Pfizer and Astro Zeneca.

    It is believed that Israel paid more per dose than other places did, but they don’t care – getting that supply guaranteed, and sooner rather than later, is what they wanted.

  3. The EU has been such a disaster that several countries are paddling their own canoes. Hungary, Chechia and Slovakia are getting supplies from Russia, and Austria and Denmark are making a joint approach to Israel.

    The UK should do a deal with Ireland to supply it with its surplus vaccines asap. Northern Ireland has vaccinated over 30% of its population but the Republic has been relying on the EU for supplies and has only vaccinated about 9%. That’s assuming that Ireland has the balls to annoy Brussels by putting its own people first.

  4. That would be great if the UK and Ireland did that.

    No one with any ethics would have a problem.

  5. That would be great if the UK and Ireland did that.

    Yes, but unfortunately Brexit is still festering. The UK has unilaterally extended the NI Protocol grace periods by six months to 30 September. The EU is furious and Ireland is not best pleased, so relations are a bit delicate at the moment to put it mildly:


  6. Pete…
    There’s already a border across The Island of Ireland.
    I wonder how the EU are handling the distribution of vaccines between Poland and Belarus?

  7. The UK has the worst Covid death toll in Europe.

    Yes yes, I know. Stats can only be trusted when convenient. 🙂

    Tariffs and protectionism when done by Trump = good. Tariffs and protectionism when done by EU =bad.

    What a boring game. Why not just have an honest discussion.

  8. “The UK should do a deal with Ireland to supply it with its surplus vaccines asap”

    Peter — I think this will not happen soon, but might happen down the line. I agree it should be done ASAP. Ireland are in lockstep with the EU to a ridiculous extent, far more than any EU law calls for.

    I linked to an Irish Times article the other day from early February which quoted Irish government sources saying there was no rule precluding them for procuring vaccines outside the EU framework but that they were not going to do so. The obvious response is, why on earth not when the EU framework is not delivering, to put it politely.

    This morning, this…


    A bit bloody late in the day.

  9. Donnelly said there is “frustration around the world” in terms of vaccine supplies, but told TDs today that being part of the EU consortium has allowed Ireland to get significantly more doses in comparison to if Ireland had “gone it our own

    This is completely untrue. Israel outperformed all nations on this, and they weren’t part of any international scheme. They negotiated everything on their own

    Ireland could have been negotiating with Pfizer etc in mid 2020, but put chose to put all its eggs in the EU basket.

    I’m not necessarily criticizing that choice – You would have thought that the EU would’ve performed much better – But an alternate path was always possible

  10. Pfizer has deep roots in Ireland

    They would have negotiated with it in a minute


  11. “This is completely untrue.”

    It is. It shows a lack of confidence and ambition, but also a completely uncritical eye when it comes to all things EU. I’m someone who values our relationship with our British neighbors. I do not believe Ireland — both the political class and people generally — should instinctively jump to the defense of the EU in each and every conflict involving the UK. A strong relationship with the UK is vital for Ireland. Now that the UK has left the EU, Ireland should rebalance somewhat.

  12. the ROI, NI, & GB have yet to even ponder what Brexit really means for all 3. What’s on paper never is reality and the unthought of little quirks haven’t shown up yet because the worlds been on lockdown for the majority of time since Brext.

    It will take a couple of years after things are back up to see what the reality of brexit really is.

    In the mean time the ROI should jump through whatever hoops, get in bed with whoever, the first rule of every government is take care of their people… the drugs are out there screw the EU you’ll all die waiting for direction…

  13. Petr


    Being pro EU should not mean being emotionally or knee jerk politically distant from the UK.

    Such a thing would not serve Ireland’s interests at all I would think.

  14. Phantom — It’s the most obvious thing in the world, but liberal Brit-bashing is VERY much back in fashion here. It won’t serve anyone well.

  15. “Tariffs and protectionism when done by Trump = good. Tariffs and protectionism when done by EU =bad.

    What a boring game. Why not just have an honest discussion.”

    I’m not sure who has made that argument. I’ve said a few times in here that I wasn’t a fan of Trump economically.

    On the EU, it is beyond contention that it has failed – and should be declared failed in a legal sense – where vaccines are concerned. No government would be criticised, outside of Brussels, for declaring themselves free of any such treaty obligations.

  16. Trump was all over the place economically, tending always towards protectionism ( even well before he was president )

    He knew some of the issues, but had zero understanding of many of them, including the US/North American auto industry.

    At the end of the day, he finally realized the problem posed by China, but he actually helped China a great deal by walking away from Trans Pacific Partnership, a major own goal.

  17. yes yes Trump was all over the place where every international trade deal before him was done correctly… allowing one sided tariffs and imbalances and encouraging our entire manufacturing industry to leave the country….

    yeah those Preceding Presidents and this one really know what they are doing as opposed to Trump I mean shoot we’d really be screwed if we didn’t just give the WHO 400 Million Dollars but their worth it….

    So Phantom how heavily does your industry use ESG Scores because they are about to be adopted here in the US as Part of one of these Wonderful extra savvy international agreements arranged by your heroes.

    Why don’t you explain why adopting ESG Scores not just for business but as part of personal credit evaluation is a good thing.

    The Floor is yours.

  18. There are many procedural bureaucratic centralised and sclerotic things wrong with the structure of the EU politically, but the single market and the customs union are unmitigated succeses of huge economic and financial benefit to businesses and consumers across the continent. It remains foolish that the UK let those 2 entities.

  19. I love how so many people who hated Margaret Thatcher were suddenly loud about how she instigated the single market and how great it is.

    Ah well, it’s in our past now.

  20. I never hated Margaret Thatcher,she was right about the single market. Only stupid economically illiterate blinded by nationalism would want to leave it.

  21. Petr Tarasov

    Yes, Ireland is a pathetic lapdog of the EU. They should have been on this at least a month ago and no doubt will be at the back of the queue now. The contrast with the speed of vaccination in Northern Ireland must be galling, especially to the Shinners.

  22. “Only stupid economically illiterate blinded by nationalism would want to leave it.”

    You should see what EU nationalism has led to.

  23. What did your president accomplish in matters of trade in manufactured goods?

    What do you think of his Foxconn deal in Wisconsin? How is that working out?