EU ‘needs to act better' like the UK did says Anand Menon
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Professor Anand Menon, Director of think tank UK in a changing Europe, reflected on the attitude towards the EU’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. During an interview with Express.co.uk, Prof Menon argued it is clear bickering between nations had taken place during the pandemic. However, he said there is growing support for the EU having more control in order to quickly deal with future pandemics.
He insisted that, if the EU is able to behave promptly and decisively, it will prevent tensions growing between member states.
Professor Menon said: “What is striking to me is that in the early phases of vaccine procurement policy the EU was slow and missed a trick in not doing what the UK did.
“Even though this led to a degree of disquiet, both at a political level and among populations, what it hasn’t translated into is a desire to see nation states take charge of these things by themselves.
“There seems to be a very strong belief that it makes sense for the EU to handle these because it can do it at scale and avoid damaging bickering between member states.
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“But the EU needs to be able to act better, more promptly and effectively as the UK did.
“I don’t think the vaccine row has caused that much in the way of tensions within the EU.
“It is possible that the economic consequences of the emergence from lockdown we are almost certainly going to see very unequal impacts across member states.
“This will cause some tensions.”
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Professor Menon noted that the vaccine rows have resulted in further bad blood between the UK and EU instead.
He added: “What the vaccine rollout did do was cause significant tension between the UK and the EU.
“Partly on the EU’s side because they resent the fact that the British Government sold this as a triumph of Brexit.
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“I think that annoyed them.
“Partly on the UK’s side too because there was the moment in which the EU considered invoking Article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol to prevent vaccines moving from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland.
“That has led to a degree of bad blood as well.
“So the UK, EU relations have been slightly scarred by the whole vaccine episode.”
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