Ursula von der Leyen makes an attempt to pin blame on deputy for embarrassing U-turn in vaccine export row
Ursula von der Leyen on Monday pinned the blame for the vaccine fiasco that led Brussels to threaten a tough border on the island of Ireland on her commerce commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis. The European Commission president threw her deputy, who leads DG Trade, beneath the bus amid rising anger from EU capitals at her “go it alone” techniques throughout final week’s battle with AstraZeneca. Jean-Claude Juncker, Mrs von der Leyen’s predecessor, mentioned he was “very much opposed” to her export restriction measures. In a speech in Stuttgart on Sunday, Mr Juncker additionally mentioned of the EU’s vaccine procurement: “It all went too slow, it all should have been done more transparently, even though that would have been difficult.” “This regulation falls under the responsibility of Mr Dombrovskis,” mentioned Eric Marmer, the European Commission’s chief spokesman, referring to the previous prime minister of Latvia, a Brussels veteran with a popularity for warning. “In my country we have a saying, ‘Only the Pope is infallible’. Mistakes can happen along the way the important thing is that you recognise them early on,” Mr Mamer mentioned. Alexander Stubb, the previous prime minister of Finland who campaigned to be appointed European Commission, president was scathing about Mrs Von der Leyen. He mentioned “Number one rule of any leader: if your organisation screws up; never, ever blame your team publicly” Mrs von der Leyen was pressured right into a humiliating climbdown on Friday after asserting Brussels would set off Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol, to forestall AstraZeneca vaccines being smuggled into Britain from Northern Ireland. The move, which was introduced with out notifying Ireland or Britain, would have created a “vaccine border” after years of Brexit talks to keep away from a tough border on the island. After the Irish prime minister known as Mrs von der Leyen, the regulation, which might have facilitated a vaccine export ban to non-EU international locations together with Britain, was amended. Mr Mamer mentioned that the regulation to create an “export transparency mechanism”, which together with the Article 16 measure, was handed provisionally and at pace by the complete College of Commissioners on Friday. Asked by the Telegraph if this was Ms Van der Leyen’s worst week, he mentioned: “We imagine that we’re heading in the right direction because the starting of this pandemic in making certain there’s as cohesive and as efficient a European response as potential. Mrs von der Leyen’s makes an attempt to go the buck reduce no ice with EU diplomats, who instructed she had gone rogue, or German MPs in Berlin, who plan to summon Ursula von der Leyen for questioning. In an additional blow to Mrs von der Leyen, the move was led by MPs from her personal occasion, Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU). Mrs von der Leyen has refused requires a public debate on the debacle within the European Parliament. Instead she’s going to on Tuesday maintain closed door conferences with MEPs with events who authorised her appointment. It is known that Mrs von der Leyen took private cost of the vaccine row and that DG Trade’s senior official is Sabine Weyand, whose objections to triggering Article 16 have been reported to have been overruled. Ms Weyand is keenly conscious of the political sensitivities across the Brexit divorce treaty’s Northern Ireland Protocol. She was Michel Barnier’s deputy Brexit negotiator and a key determine within the creation of the Irish border backstop.