Prime ministers and presidents will warn the health situation across the Continent is too grave for restrictive measures to be lifted. At a virtual leadership summit on Thursday, they will pin the blame on Brussels bureaucrats in charge of the EU’s bungled rollout of Covid jabs for preventing lockdowns from being lifted. Their fury comes after Boris Johnson this week announced plans for an “irreversible” end to England’s coronavirus lockdown and to reopen our economy.
While cases are dropping in Britain, the number of Covid infections across Germany, France and other EU states remains stubbornly high.
In leaked draft summit conclusions, seen by Express.co.uk , EU leaders will say: “The epidemiological situation remains serious, and the new variants pose additional challenges.
“We must therefore uphold tight restrictions while stepping up efforts to accelerate the provision of vaccines.”
EU leaders will order a report on the “lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic” and the failure of eurocrats to be drawn up amid growing anger over the slow rollout of Covid jabs.
They will also resist immediately reopening international travel ahead of the summer holidays despite a number of Mediterranean states keen to broker deals with Britain to restart their tourism industries.
“For the time being, non-essential travel needs to be restricted,” their memo adds.
While member states struggle to administer jabs, Greece has hit out at EU leaders for being too slow to embrace vaccination passports to restart tourism ahead of the summer.
Its tourism minister Harry Theocharis told the FT: “Looking at the reaction of some countries to vaccination certificate proposals, I feel there’s a lot of short sightedness. There’s more to be done now to prepare ourselves.
“Some countries are very much preoccupied with now.”
The EU’s desperately sluggish rollout of Covid vaccinations has been blamed by some capitals for the prolonged lockdown agony.
Hungarian PM Viktor Orban suggested the EU’s joint procurement scheme for Covid jabs has hindered the bloc’s recovery.
He fumed: “We’ve sought to do something together that we could have managed more successfully on an individual basis – take a look at Britain.”
Budapest has already turned its back on the Brussels scheme, opting to use Russia and China’s state-backed jabs without EU approval.
The EU has only administered around 27 million doses of coronavirus vaccines, at a rate of six percent of its population.
In contrast, Britain has vaccinated more than a quarter of all adults, delivering some 18.35 million jabs.
A number of EU countries have reported that citizens are turning down the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, a key pillar of Britain’s scheme, because of concerns over its safety and efficacy.
It comes after misleading attacks by French President Emmanuel Macron, who branded the jab “quasi-ineffective”, and anonymous German officials also questioning its efficacy.