Macron attacks UK's 'defeatist spirit' insisting EU did 'not miss the boat' in pandemic


Emmanuel Macron appeared at the Future of Europe conference which seeks to address medium to long-term issues to the European Union by rallying leaders together to tackle them. But as the French President opened up the conference, which also saw European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen make an appearance, the head of state appeared to make a jab towards the UK and other nations who have challenged the effectiveness of the EU’s handling of Covid. Mr Macron said there was a “spirit of defeatism” among the EU’s critics before urging members and outsiders to not forget what Europe has built. 

Speaking during the Future of Europe conference, Mr Macron discussed how European nations can come together to solve their problems and praised the unity among member-states. 

He told the televised conference: “When these huge crises fall upon us, and we have has many such occurrences in the past.

“There are always very deep-seated doubts and national instincts that start to make themselves comfortable.

“We’ve seen today that some people are challenging what we are about and who we are and just forgetting everything that we have built up. 

“That is what is at stake today, that’s the risk that is to just give up out of a sense of not knowing what to do – rather than to build on what we have done. 

“And we can always hear people attack Europe and accuse it through this spirit of defeatism, look at Europe [they] missed the boat.”

“I say it’s quite the opposite, in this crisis, it is the European model that really came into its own.

“And I think we’ve seen the pathways forward given the challenges that are before us.”

AstraZeneca has repeatedly explained the reasoning behind their UK priority over Europe was due to the UK securing contracts before the Commission did. 

In addition, European heads of state have been divided over vaccine export bans and have even cast doubts over the AZ jab itself amid blood clotting risks. 

This led to the European Medicines Agency investigating the vaccine and found it was “safe and effective” to use but said blood clotting should be listed as a side effect. 

Mr Macron himself has fuelled vaccine hesitancy in his own country by stating the AstraZeneca vaccine is “quasi-ineffective” for those aged over 65.

France, which is now coming out of another lockdown due to a surge in cases and variants, saw many people not turn up for their AZ vaccines which saw hundreds of doses unused in northern France over one weekend. 

A YouGov poll held at the end of March found all five major countries it surveyed – Britain, Germany, France, Denmark and Sweden – believe the EU have handled the pandemic badly. 

Germany was the strongest critic of the European Union with 75 percent giving a negative opinion and 36 percent saying the EU has done “very badly”.

Only 20 percent of French respondents gave a positive review of the EU’s performance. 


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