Nigel Farage on European Commission’s vaccine demands
Speaking to Express.co.uk the former MEP and Brexit Party leader said the current circumstances were a chance to make amends with those let down by the EU trade deal. Brussels is coming under increasing pressure from within its own bloc following a sluggish rollout of its immunisation programme and a shortage of coronavirus vaccines.
Drugs manufacturer AstraZeneca last week told the bloc it would only be able to deliver about a quarter of its promised doses to the EU due to a supply problem.
Outraged, Brussels has demanded jabs from AstraZeneca earmarked for Britain be redirected to the continent and has placed a ban on Pfizer vaccines – which are made in Belgium – from being delivered to the UK.
In total, Britain has ordered enough vaccines to immunise the population three times over.
Mr Farage believes panicked actions from the EU due to their supply shortage could work in the UK’s favour.
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The lifelong eurosceptic told this website: “Despite all the appalling ways in which they are behaving, the UK is in a relatively fortunate position that has more vaccine than it can use.
“Not necessarily in a boastful way, but we should use this to our national advantage.”
Many fisheries are frustrated by the terms of the new trading relationship with Brussels, while financial services feel ignored.
Outlining how the Prime Minister could take advantage of the current situation to improve the implementation of the deal, Mr Farage mimicked the speech Mr Johnson should give the European Commission President.
He said: “Ursula, we’ll ignore the horrible things you’ve done in the last 48 hours, I think in many ways, to the European voters you’ve shown your true colours.
“But, we do want to help the people of Europe, and we’re very happy to have a conversation with you about providing vaccine.
“In return for that, can you please stop messing around at the borders in the way you are?
“Stop the nonsense. Oh, and by the way, this week you recognised the validity of United States exchanges and clearing houses in financial services, can you please do the same for London?”
He added Mr Johnson could also make the delivery of second doses conditional to “a little chat about fishing”.
Fisheries are angry at the size of quotas they have been given in the EU trade deal and feel let down by Mr Johnson.
They are also suffering from delays at the border, with longer exports times making it difficult for them to send supplies of fresh fish to the continent.
Frustrated no Government ministers appeared to have suggested adopting his strategy, Mr Farage questioned whether the Prime Minister fully appreciated just how good a negotiating hand he had.
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Mr Farage said the European Commission’s handling of vaccine procurement had sparked widespread anger across the bloc and eurocrats were desperate to find a quick solution.
“The European Commission is in trouble,” he said.
“Vaccination centres in Lisbon and in Paris have had to close down through lack of vaccine.
“People are angry, they are turning their ire on the European Union for the first time.
“I’ve never seen this before.
“The whole project has got a problem.”
So far Mr Johnson has refused to wade into the escalating row between the EU and AstraZeneca.
Asked about it at a Downing Street coronavirus briefing this week, he said: “All I can say is we’re very confident in our supplies, we’re very confident in our contracts and we’re going ahead on that basis.”
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