Even Juncker is bashing the European Commission

Former European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker has condemned his former employer for restricting exports of life-saving coronavirus vaccines.

His successor as head of the EU executive, Ursula von der Leyen, approved regulations on Friday that would give the European Union the power to block the export of Covid-19 vaccines manufactured within the EU to non-EU countries.

Speaking on Monday at a virtual event, Mr Juncker said: “We actually have not had good experiences with export restrictions in Europe.

“At the beginning of the pandemic crisis, some countries made the incomprehensible decision to not export medical material. This was corrected by the European Commission. Now we are back in a debate where again the suggestion is being made that nothing should be exported from the European Union to other non-EU countries.

“We are not just responsible for ourselves”, insisted the former president.

“This is a pandemic that affects everyone on this planet. I am very much opposed to the European Union now giving the impression that we are taking care of ourselves and that the suffering of other people, especially in poorer countries and on poorer continents, does not affect us.”

When asked about the performance of the European Commission on vaccine procurement generally, Mr Juncker was particularly scathing, insisting the Commission had been “too slow” to act and their intentions had not been done with “the maximum transparency”.

Ms von der Leyen is under considerable pressure on the continent for overseeing such a laboured procurement process and even slower roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines.

Criticism from her predecessor won’t help matters.