EU vaccine fury: Malta PM turns on bloc in ferocious attack – bombshell letter exposed

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Vaccine ‘crisis managed terribly by EU’ says expert

Robert Abela warned the EU chief the European procurement of coronavirus vaccines was failing small countries like Malta as he called for a “more balanced approach”. The Maltese leader blasted the shortcomings of the EU’s beloved Single Market as he claimed the system fails to guarantee a balanced distribution of vaccine vials across the bloc.

Mr Abela also stressed how Brexit has left his country reliant on a system that has so far fallen short of expectations, warning the EU’s health shambles could spark the collapse of Malta’s healthcare system.

He wrote: “The reality is that a genuine Single Market for pharmaceuticals for patients does not exist.

“Access to pharmaceuticals is dependent on the financial viability of the pharmaceutical product on the market of each Member State.

“This has led to the creation of a long-standing structural problem, particularly for smaller Member States.

“Unfortunately, with the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU, Malta has lost its main legal vehicle to supply medicinal products to its patients.

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EU vaccine news: Malta PM Robert Abela urged Charles Michel to adopt a balanced approach on vaccines (Image: GETTY)

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EU vaccines: Charles Michel was told Malta is nearing a healthcare collapse (Image: GETTY)

“I am very concerned with this situation since shortages of medicinal products will undermine the effectiveness of our healthcare system.

“This is of even greater concern since we are currently in the middle of a health crisis.”

The Malta Prime Minister said he also wrote to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, urging her for “concrete action” on more joint procurement initiatives at EU level in the future.

It comes after the Commission chief was forced to apologise after she engaged in a bitter contractual row with the Oxford vaccine producer AstraZeneca.

The row escalated when Mrs von der Leyen threatened the UK with vaccine export bans against Northern Ireland by triggering Article 16 of the Brexit protocol.

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EU vaccine news: Von der Leyen was urged to resign (Image: GETTY)

The move was swiftly retracted and the contracts with AstraZeneca were published after MEPs demanded clarity from the EU chief.

But the damage had been done.

The Commission chief delivered a humiliating apology before the European Parliament admitting to her failures.

But Mrs von der Leyen tried to explain away the botched process on technical grounds.

She said: “There is not a compromise we can make when it comes to injecting people with biologically active substances into an individual with good health.

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EU news: Von der Leyen said she made a mistake by triggering Article 16 (Image: GETTY)

“And that’s the reason why we rely on the European Medicines Agency procedure.

“And yes, that means that the approval takes from three to four weeks more.”

The following day, her mea culpa did not prove to be sufficient to squash criticism from French politicians who promptly took to Twitter to attack the EU chief.

Jerome Riviere MEP said: “The people of Europe will not forget the total failure of this EU and its dramatic handling of the health crisis.”

Echoing Mr Riviere’s comment, MEP Manon Aubry wrote: “The EU strategy on vaccines is a real fiasco; we are capable of imposing restrictions on all citizens, but not rules for big pharmaceutical companies.”

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Coronavirus vaccine doses administered in the world as of February 20 (Image: EXPRESS)

National Rally MEP Nicolas Bay added: “All countries that have ordered vaccines outside the EU are doing better. The European Union is failing.”

Mrs von der Leyen, who has also spoken at five groupings of MEPs over the past weeks, said 26 million vaccine doses had been delivered and that, by the end of the summer, 70 percent of adults in the 27-nation bloc should have been inoculated.

She told Parliament: “And yet it is a fact that we are not today where we want to be in the fight against the virus.

“We were late with the approval. We were too optimistic on mass production.

“And perhaps we were also too certain that the orders would actually be delivered on time.”

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EU news: Von der Leyen apologised for her mistakes on covid vaccine procurements (Image: GETTY)

Mrs von der Leyen said mistakes were also made leading up to the decision on export curbs.

“I deeply regret that,” she said, adding that the Commission would do its utmost to protect peace in Northern Ireland.

Avoiding a border between EU member Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland is seen as key to protecting the peace process there.

However, Mrs von der Leyen defended the Commission’s oversight and added that “in the end, we got it right”.

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