‘EU is NOT a country!’ Macron ally humiliated after furious France blasts Brussels rebels

Vaccine: 'Extra' EU supply should come to Ireland says Murphy

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French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian admitted there were “sometimes heavy gaps” in EU vaccine policy but deplored “temptations to secede”. In a stern attack on Austria and Denmark over their decision to make a deal on vaccine procurements with Israel, Mr Le Drian said the European framework remained the “most effective solution to meet vaccination needs”.

But Mr Macron’s minister was shamed by the Generation Frexit leader, who reminded Mr Le Drian the EU is not a federal country, praising those who see the “mediocrity” and “inefficiency” of the bloc.

He tweeted: “‘Temptations of secession’.

“Worthy of a sect.

“Le Drian will be reminded that the EU is not a country. So there is no secession.

“The more lucid member countries see only the mediocrity and inefficiency of going through the EU.

“Let’s take back control.”

Mr Le Drian said “the priority issue is now to pool our resources to increase production capacities in Europe”.

The French minister said the European marketing authorisation process will also be accelerated with the establishment of an “emergency procedure” for vaccines suitable for variants.

He said: “The European Union is redoubling its efforts to develop second-generation vaccines, with the establishment of a European network for vaccine trials.”

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his Danish counterpart Mette Frederiksen met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel on Thursday to launch a partnership for second-generation vaccines, covering both production and research.

Mr Kurz said the European Medicines Agency (EMA) was “too slow” to approve vaccines and it was no longer possible to “depend only on the EU” for second-generation vaccines intended for faced with the multiple mutations of the virus.

After the meeting, Mr Netanyahu announced the pact between the three nations.

Speaking at a joint conference, he said: “Once we get over this cycle of the disease we have no guarantee that it won’t come back.

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“We don’t know how long – nobody knows – how long these vaccines will hold up.

“And therefore we have to protect our people against the reemergence of this pandemic or mutations.”

Kurz said he was “very happy” about an EU vaccine initiative “but we also need to cooperate worldwide”.

The European Commission has said member states were free to strike separate deals should they wish to.

The trilateral pact, Mr Kurz said, would include investment in production plants in Europe and Israel, and each country contributing where it best can to the manufacturing cycle.

The Chancellor said: “In Austria, for example, lipid production necessary for many vaccines is already taking place.”

Ms Frederiksen said her country was looking to expand its production capacity.

She said: “We would like in common also to explore possible cooperation on clinical trials” with Israel and Austria.”

Mr Netanyahu, who said 90 percent of eligible Israelis have either received at least one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or recovered from the virus, has made the programme a showcase of his campaign for a March 23 election.

“We will be, together, ‘Vaccination Nations’,” he said of the deal with Austria and Denmark.

He added: “And we agreed that if other nations want to join us, we will discuss this among ourselves and welcome others to come in as well.”

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