Europe’s lack of substantial support for a number of countries during the crisis because of the pandemic COVID-19 may provoke a Frexit. This was reported by the newspaper Le Figaro on Friday, March 12.
Columnist Laurent Herble talks about the possible withdrawal of France from the European Union (EU), drawing an analogy with Great Britain (Brexit). According to him, the health crisis in Europe has allowed the industry to “virtually withdraw from the economy,” as 80% of medicines are manufactured outside the countries, and the companies that make masks have all but disappeared. Many states already buy COVID-19 vaccines from Russia and China, bypassing EU decisions.
Erble says that this situation is “the direct responsibility of the European Union,” which, instead of providing real help, suggests that countries refuse to spend more on medicine. He also points out that, for instance, the United States has already adopted its third bailout plan in two years and that the amount is $5 trillion, while the EU has just $300 billion.
Moreover, according to him, the UK has been more successful in the fight against the coronavirus, despite the “difficult path after the country’s exit from the Union”. Brexit showed what “really happened to the image of the EU.”
“The EU is just an additional and unadapted bureaucracy that paralyzes and distracts us and never serves our interests,” Erble wrote.
The journalist also pointed out that the pandemic helped find supporters of the Frexit argument, as organizing a campaign on the proposal is real.
It is known that on June 23, 2016 in a referendum almost 17.5 million (51.89%) of British citizens voted for the withdrawal of Britain from the European Union. Since June 2017, negotiations between Brussels and London continued. The country officially left the European Union at midnight on January 31, 2020.
Earlier, on March 13, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said he and his colleagues from Austria, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Latvia wrote a letter to the leadership of the European Commission and the European Council asking for a European summit to discuss imbalances in the distribution of vaccines among EU countries.
At the same time on the same day British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca confirmed reports on new delays in deliveries of COVID-19 vaccine to EU countries. The day before Reuters reported that AstraZeneca reduced its forecast for the supply of the vaccine in Q1 by 25% – from 40 million to 30 million doses.
March 12 in Italy began investigations into the death of several patients after vaccination against coronavirus infection with a drug AstraZeneca. The day before Denmark decided to suspend vaccination with this drug because of the possibility of blood clots after its use. The authorities in Italy, Norway, and Iceland followed suit with a similar precautionary decision.
On March 10, Thomas Mertens, head of the German Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) at the Robert Koch Institute, called the Russian vaccine high-quality. He praised the work of Russian researchers and the preparation itself against coronavirus. The head of STIKO expressed the opinion that Sputnik V will soon be registered in the European Union.