Macron slammed by French residents for slow EU vaccine rollout
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Commissioner Stella Kyriakides’ competence for handling the coronavirus pandemic was questioned in an inflammatory report by the German daily newspaper Bild. In it, the Cypriot eurocrat is described as the “feet up commissioner” who was much better at relaxing on her balcony instead of obtaining life-saving Covid vaccines for member states. The piece reveals that Ms Kyriakides, 62, was parachuted into the role as the EU’s top health official – a job that they wrote only “became really important because of Covid”.
She was personally nominated for the role by her close friend Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiadis.
He lobbied Commission President Ursula von der Leyen hard to accept his request after the previous EU commissioner from his country stumbled upon the “golden passport” scandal.
Bild claimed Ms Kyriakides was perfect for the role because she is a “health politician with a history of cancer”, “from a very rich family”, “well connected” on Cyprus and “a woman” to fulfil Mrs von der Leyen’s wish for a gender-balanced cabinet.
The Commission chief gladly accepted her nomination and appointed her head of the “European plan to Fight Cancer”.
“At that time, the post was considered a job for greetings, conferences and initiatives,” the publication wrote.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, health issues were under the sole control of the EU’s member states.
But a proposal for a joint vaccine procurement scheme saw the Commission charged with securing sufficient supplies for the roll-out of Covid jabs across the bloc.
Bild wrote that EU bureaucrats under the leadership of Ms Kyriakides have overseen a “vaccination disaster”.
It was claimed even Mrs von der Leyen was sceptical that her health chief would be suitable for the role of securing life-saving jabs for the bloc’s 27 countries.
“Von der Leyen apparently herself suspected that her commissioner would be overwhelmed with the vaccine negotiations, and put her general director Sandra Gallina at her side for the poker games with the pharmaceutical giants – who had never before had anything to do with vaccine doses or pills,” Bild wrote.
Analysts have reported that the bloc is at least five weeks behind its scheduled target to vaccinate 70 percent of all adults by the end of September.
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Mrs von der Leyen has since taken sole responsibility for the roll-out of jabs across the EU.
She is set to be grilled by furious MEPs in the European Parliament tomorrow after a number of them called for her to resign over the bloc’s sluggish scheme.
Many critics of the EU’s vaccine efforts have noted that Britain has raced ahead of the bloc.
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The UK has delivered almost 13 million doses of coronavirus jabs at a rate of 18.9 per 100 people.
In contrast, the EU – which has a population almost seven-times larger – has dished out 17.1 million vaccines at a rate of 3.85.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg
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