EU ‘needs to act better' like the UK did says Anand Menon
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Professor Anand Menon, director for think tank UK in a Changing Europe, warns EU member states may break into rows with one another. During an interview with Express.co.uk, he suggested it is clear within the European Union that Covid and lockdowns impacted member states differently. He added that this could breed tension.
Prof Menon said:” But the EU needs to be able to act better, more promptly and effectively as the UK did.
“I don’t think the vaccine row has caused that much in the way of tensions within the EU.
“It is possible that the economic consequences of the emergence from lockdown we are almost certainly going to see very unequal impacts across member states.
“This will cause some tensions.”
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Despite this, Professor Menon also argued that member states may push for the EU to have more control in similar pandemic situations in the future.
This idea is based on the premise the EU can quickly enact rule changes and new legislation to prevent bickering in the earlier stages of the health crisis.
The issue of open borders between member states while other nations were closing theirs during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic has remained a point of scrutiny.
Professor Menon said: “What is striking to me is that in the early phases of vaccine procurement policy the EU was slow and missed a trick in not doing what the UK did.
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“Even though this led to a degree of disquiet, both at a political level and among populations, what it hasn’t translated into is a desire to see nation-states take charge of these things by themselves.
“There seems to be a very strong belief that it makes sense for the EU to handle these because it can do it at scale and avoid damaging bickering between member states.”
The political expert also noted the UK and EU’s relationship had soured during the pandemic.
He said: “What the vaccine rollout did do was cause significant tension between the UK and the EU.
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“Partly on the EU’s side because they resent the fact that the British Government sold this as a triumph of Brexit.
“I think that annoyed them.
“Partly on the UK’s side too because there was the moment in which the EU considered invoking Article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol to prevent vaccines moving from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland.
“That has led to a degree of bad blood as well.
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