EU humiliated as most Europeans believe bloc is ‘broken’ after slow vaccine rollout

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Earlier this year, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the EU had been hit by delays in production and distribution. Brussels was slower than the UK to negotiate a contract with AstraZeneca.

In February, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen admitted: “We were late to authorise.

“We were too optimistic when it came to massive production and perhaps too confident that what we ordered would actually be delivered on time.”

New research by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) found that the majority of those polled in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Austria now believe the EU is “broken”.

About 62 percent of French people surveyed think the bloc is “broken” rather than “working well”.

In Germany, around 55 percent believe the EU is “kaput” and more than one in five think it is “completely broken”.

In Italy, 57 percent of people questioned agree that the EU is “broken”.

For Spain, normally one of the most pro-EU members, 52 percent also see the bloc as “broken”.

And about 51 percent of Austrians agreed that the EU is dysfunctional.

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The ECFR polled 12 EU countries last month as part of its research into how public faith in the EU has changed due to its handling of the pandemic.

Their findings showed that the bloc’s failure to outperform the UK and other rivals, including the US, has become an “existential” crisis.

Susi Dennison and Jana Puglierin, the authors of the report, wrote: “The onslaught of the pandemic was the EU’s chance to prove to citizens that it could move quickly and decisively in their best interests.”

They added: “But the EU missed its opportunity to present a credible narrative of strong European leadership after the agreement of the EU recovery package in summer 2020.

“Then, the slow and chaotic start to the vaccine roll-out at the beginning of 2021 raised big questions about the EU’s capacity to steer its member states through the crisis.”

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