Ursula von der Leyen, the EU Commission President, is increasingly coming under fire as anger grows over the EU’s botched vaccine programme. European countries tasked the EU with procuring vaccines on their behalf yet this has turned out to be a huge mistake.
Other countries, such as the United States, UK and Israel, ordered more doses and did so months earlier which goes a long way to explaining why they have been more successful in vaccinating their populations than countries within the EU. It is absurd: on vaccine procurement, von der Leyen was extremely tight-fisted and did not want to spend more than €2.7 billion – despite the fact that the EU, in parallel, approved €750 billion of spending to help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus crisis across the continent.
Her bungling of efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic is by no means her first high-profile failure. Von der Leyen was defense minister from 2013 to 2019 and she left chaos in her wake.