Emmanuel Macron has sent out his anti-Britain spokesperson yet again, to make unfounded claims the AstraZeneca vaccine developed at Oxford University is “European”.
Macron ally, Clément Beaune has been dispatched to do the impossible job of defending the EU’s failing vaccine strategy several times.
The European minister has repeatedly used Britain as a bogeyman to deflect attention away from the EU’s catastrophic roll-out.
Beaune had previously said Britain was experiencing a “difficult health situation” making the audacious claim France had jabbed more people than Britain. Yesterday it was confirmed Britain has surged past the EU for second jabs, Even though the UK has adopted a very different strategy of delaying second doses to maximize the number of first-round injections which alone guarantee more than 75% immunity with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
According to EU stats, 5.4% of French folk have received their second dose compared to 10.3% in Britain. The gap is even starker for first doses, 60% of people in Britain have been injected at least once. Just 16% in France have.
Beaune’s record for outlandish claims has reached even loftier heights thanks to his assertion the European Union deserves joint-credit for the AZ jab.
“They didn’t play a very nice game. The British say the vaccine is theirs. Yes, this vaccine comes from Oxford, but it was funded until 31 December 2020 by Europe! Almost 100 million euros given for research,” Beaune told TV RMC.
“I would say this vaccine is British, but also European.”
The EU’s information sheet on vaccine procurement and funding states, “€100 million was awarded to support the rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines” in total. The UK is on the record for splurging £68 million, the EU is not.
If Beaune was deliberately confusing research funding with vaccine purchases then €100 is a drop in the ocean, the EU signed up to buy $384 million worth of France’s Sanofi jab, which has since been ditched.
Famously, the EU, led by Germany, has rubbished the Oxford vaccine, manufactured by AstraZeneca, with Macron himself deriding it as “quasi-ineffective” and Chancellor Merkel refusing to take it. Had the EU helped fund the research as heavily as Beaune claims would it then go on to undermine its efficacy, even though it was approved by the bloc’s own medicines agency? Unlikely.
What Beaune really wanted to address was his boss’s obsession with getting more vaccine using threats of blocking exports to the UK, even though Britain made a deal with manufacturer AstraZeneca much earlier and on stronger terms.
Beaune said: “We signed the AstraZeneca contract 24 hours before the British did. In the contract that Europe has with AstraZeneca, the British factories must deliver doses to us. We have received 0 doses.
“Maybe they played their cards well, but they played a bad game.
“What we are saying is that if you want to be cooperative, we prefer that. But if you don’t want to play as a team, we won’t do it either. This will mean that the European factories will start sending doses to the UK only when we get our doses. We deliver if we receive.”
The most famous of these “European” plants is the Halix facility in Leiden, The Netherlands, which received an order from the EU last month not to shift jabs the UK. It has since been revealed the installation received £21 million in funding from the British taxpayer.