US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — European Commission chief von der Leyen has compared the fight over the covid-19 vaccine to the Cold War space race – hours after the EU turned to Russia for help with vaccinations. Now Europe expects to approve the Russian Sputnik V vaccine as soon as possible.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has compared vaccine nationalism to the Cold War space race.
Harshly criticized, von der Leyen said this “old confrontational mindset” that was inherent in tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union is not helping the global community to fight the coronavirus.
Addressing students at the University of Warwick, she said: “Some countries perceive the pursuit of a vaccine as a race between global powers, akin to the 1960s space race.”
She made these comments a week after the EU tried to impose tight export controls in an effort to prevent the United Kingdom from receiving vaccine shipments. Faced with violent outrage, he reversed his decision.
Vaccinations across the continent have been slow, and Brussels has demanded that UK vaccine shipments be used to compensate for vaccine shortages in the European Union.
The European Union even turned to Moscow for help, and now it is putting pressure on the European Medicines Agency to get it to approve the Russian Sputnik V vaccine as soon as possible.
Speaking to the students via video link, von der Leyen said: “When I was your age, the world was still divided into two blocks.
“The superpowers have fought to expand or maintain their sphere of influence. Well, this world is long gone.”
“And yet, the old confrontational thinking emerged. Think about covid-19 vaccines, for example. Some countries view the search for a vaccine as a race between world powers, similar to the 1960s space race.”
“This is an illusion. The only race is the race against the virus and the virus is spreading faster than ever before.”
She added: “This is not a competition between Europeans, Russians, Chinese and Americans. This is all too serious.”
British MP Bob Seely said in an interview with MailOnline: “These are very sensible words and I agree with them. But I hope that this will not entail new aggressive and rough steps towards the Northern Ireland border and new threats to block exports.”
“The government’s brilliant campaign to vaccinate the population is not intended to demonstrate the incompetence of the European Union. It aims to save British lives, and thank God, that’s exactly what it does.”
More than 11 million people in the United Kingdom have already received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine – roughly 16% of the country’s population. Meanwhile, this figure for the European Union averages only 3.5%.
Brussels fell out with AstraZeneca over failure to ensure the timely delivery of a vaccine it developed with Oxford University.
The UK did not participate in the vaccine procurement scheme proposed by Brussels, and it signed a contract with this large pharmaceutical company three months before the European Union. This is what allowed the UK to secure a steady supply of the vaccine.
On Friday, February 5, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell held a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, reflecting the desperate situation in which the EU finds itself.
Borrell congratulated Russia on the creation of the Sputnik V vaccine, and then urged the European Medicines Agency to approve the use of this vaccine in the EU countries as soon as possible.
Von der Leyen, who took over as head of the European Commission just last year, has already faced harsh criticism from EU members for failing to launch a mass vaccination campaign.
This week, a senior German government minister came out with extremely harsh criticism of her leadership on the vaccine issue.
According to von der Leyen, Brexit has become a “painful page” in the history of the United Kingdom’s relations with the European Union.
However, she has reserved the harshest criticism for the Chinese, who, she says, are “systemic opponents” of the European Union.
During her speech, von der Leyen said: “Our proposal to interact in the global arena is not addressed only to our old friends.”
“How can we deal with the greatest challenges of our era – from coronavirus to climate change – if we don’t partner with China?”
“Let me be clear: although China and the EU are cooperating when it comes to fighting climate change, despite our opposition in the economic field, we are still systemic adversaries.”
“When it comes to society, personal rights and the role of governments, Europe will continue to openly criticize human rights violations to push for change. We believe that all people have the same fundamental rights. Whether they are Hong Kong residents demanding democracy, Uyghurs, Europe will always support them. ”
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