BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders meet on Thursday to discuss a coordinated path out of the COVID-19 pandemic as infections surge again in many of their countries, seeking agreement on how to ramp up supplies of vaccines after a feeble start to inoculation.
Ahead of the summit, French President Emmanuel Macron spelt out the frustration over vaccine rollouts that are far behind those of Britain and the United States, acknowledging that European leaders had been too timid.
“We didn’t shoot for the stars. That should be a lesson for all of us. We were wrong to lack ambition, to lack the madness, I would say, to say: It’s possible, let’s do it,” he told Greek television channel ERT.
As of March 23, Britain had administered nearly 46 vaccines for every 100 people, whereas the 27-nation bloc it left last year had administered 13.8 shots per 100 people, according to public data compiled by Our World In Data website.
Europe’s painfully slow rollout has led to a quarrel with Britain, which has imported at least 11 million doses made in the EU. Britain says it did a better job negotiating with manufacturers and arranging supply chains. The EU says it should share more.