Brexit will lead to EU ‘disintegration’ says Yanis Varoufakis
The former Greek finance minister blamed the vaccine disaster on a lack of democracy and the EU originating as a “glorified cartel”. There is outrage across Europe at the number of vaccines acquired by the European Commission, which was put in charge of procurement.
The failure of the French Sanofi vaccine to work, and a smaller than expected delivery from British-Swedish company AstraZeneca, has plunged the continent into crisis.
Mr Varoufakis said: “The EU vaccines procurement fiasco is yet further proof that inefficient bureaucracy was never the EU’s true weakness
“The roots of the union’s multiple failures can be traced to its origins in a glorified cartel.
“The rules that have caused so much avoidable pain across the continent, and have guaranteed the oligarchy immunity from anything resembling a democratic process, are embedded in the unwritten corporatist covenant at the centre of the EU.
Yanis Varoufakis compared the EU to a “glorified cartel”
Coronavirus vaccines were ordered centrally by the European Commission
“Unlike nation-states that emerge as stabilisers of conflicts between social classes and groups, the EU was created as a cartel with a remit to stabilise the profit margins of the large, central European corporations.
“We also know that, unlike proper states, cartels will resist any democratisation of their decision-making, whether it is about debt or vaccines.”
Last week the EU caused global outrage by threatening to stop vaccine exports from the bloc and reimpose a hard-border between Ireland and Northern Ireland to block a potential backchannel into the UK.
Following fury in London, Dublin and Belfast the EU was forced to back down.
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The EU’s vaccine rollout programme is lagging badly behind the UK’s
It was also criticised by the World Health Organisation which warned Brussels could unleash a wave of Covid vaccine protectionism.
Mr Varoufakis argued the EU’s vaccine procurement policy was undermined by political considerations.
Writing in the New Statesman, he said: “The European Commission’s policy for ordering vaccines was driven by one imperative: to keep the Franco-German axis in balance.
“Why else did Brussels split the lion’s share of the EU’s vaccine budget straight down the middle between German company BioNTech and French company Sanofi (placing an order for 300 million vaccines from each), while procrastinating for three months over the Brexit-tainted AstraZeneca vaccine?
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Brussels threatened to block coronavirus vaccine deliveries to the UK
“When the French vaccine was significantly delayed in clinical trials, leaving the Commission with a serious vaccine shortage, the panicked reaction came straight out of the euro crisis book of malice.
“The EU lashed out by threatening to impose a ‘vaccine border’ on the island of Ireland, exposing the mendacity of its professed commitment to the Good Friday Agreement.”
Mr Varoufakis, an economist, served as Greek Minister of Finance from January to July 2015.
The UK has recorded over 100,000 coronavirus deaths
During this time he helped lead Greece’s negotiations with its creditors during the Eurozone crisis.
He resigned after the Greek government decided it had to make concessions to Brussels.
Mr Varoufakis argued the coronavirus crisis has again exposed the inflexibility of EU institutions.
EU imposed austerity caused violent rioting across Greece in 2015
He commented: “Together, EU officials and the oligarchs of Europe’s south and north have contrived to rob European peoples, both in sickness and in health, of any capacity to participate in the decision-making process.
“As a result, 13 years after the 2008 crisis, the pandemic has hardened the reality of Europe as the world’s richest and at once sickest continent.
“They have done so by turning the EU into a cash cow that must be at once submitted to unquestioningly and blamed by our domestic oligarchies for their failures.”