Patriotic Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán has broken ranks with the EU by blasting the botched Brussels vaccine scheme, and has cited the triumph of Brexit Britain as an example for nations to follow.
Speaking to a German news website about the Brussels plan to pool resources and source vaccines together, Mr Orbán said: “It’s now clear that it was a bad decision. The United States, Britain, Israel and Serbia are far ahead of us EU Member States.”
He went on to claim that “we’ve sought to do something together that we could have managed more successfully on an individual basis” and vowed to ditch Brussels restraints and secure vaccine doses using the power of his national government.
“Brussels is following its own logic. They don’t have a strong enough sense of the importance of speed, so they’re slow in issuing permits and have no power over suppliers.”
The Hungarian maverick, who first came to international prominence in the 1980s as a young leader in the national campaign against Soviet communism, has already caused headaches in Brussels by striking out on his own and securing Sputnik jabs from Russia. They now plan to roll out the doses without the approval of the EU’s slow-moving medicines regulator.
“We don’t exactly know what’s happening in Brussels, or in the heads of the Brussels bureaucrats” said Mr Orbán. “But I do know that every person who dies is someone’s father, mother, brother, sister or child. This consideration overrides European politics.”
He joins unlikely EU critic Guy Verhofstadt in his condemnation of the bungling bloc’s botched operation. Verhofstadt recently posted a lengthy missive to supporters on Facebook wherein he dubbed the EU scheme a “fiasco”.
The EU has embarrassed itself repeatedly in recent weeks as its vaccine woes worsen, plunging to such humilating depths as sending European Commission backed inspectors to storm an AstraZeneca vaccine plant and briefly attempting to impose a customs border on the island of Ireland.