The EU clearly made a boo-boo.

The bloc’s failure on vaccines has left British holidaymakers scrambling for the emergency exit.


The jabbing question

There’s something wrong with the EU.

In truth, there always has been. Twenty-seven, (once 28) separate nations, with separate agendas, separate interests and separate leaders simply cannot coexist without tension forever. At its core, the Brussels-led haven of bureaucracy simply does not lend itself to supranational crisis management. This continues to show every day in the EU’s own decentralised currency, the euro. Despite a sound premise, the single currency system removed the central mechanisms of 19 nations and replaced it with one that easily falters, evidenced by financial pressure from Greece and Catalonia. 

It can only be assumed that blind faith was the primary reason for the EU deciding to centralise its own transnational vaccination program. With the UK having administered shots to 15 million people, many British nationals have already pencilled in the dates for their grand return to the continent, presumably booking an extra day to negate the new and supposedly improved ‘global Britain’ queue time. 

However, the EU’s penchant for buckling under pressure has struck again, only this time it’s costing more than any bailout ever could. Spain, the UK’s most popular outbound tourist destination, has administered just 2.2 million shots. Italy, another firm favourite of jet-setting Brits, has only put 2.8 million jabs into arms. By comparison, the UK’s 15 million tally means business, with plans reportedly being drawn up for a second unlocking of the nation come summer.

A huge setback to the vaccine programme has been the commendable effort with which states have repeatedly shot themselves in the foot. Whilst data continuously shows the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to be safe and successful, state leaders have boxed themselves into a corner in an attempt to discredit it during a spat with AstraZeneca last month.

As a result, Germany, France, Italy and Spain have defied WHO’s guidance and blocked the jab for over-65s, ironically preventing French President Emanuel Macron’s wife Bridgette, 67, from being given an Oxford vaccine after he called the jab ‘quasi-ineffective’ in the elderly.

Another lost summer?

With the great British summer fast approaching, the lack of sunburnt holidayers invading coastal resorts and botching efforts to speak Spanish could end up costing the pan-European economy almost as much as a cocktail in Ibiza.

At the height of global lockdown last May, European hotels suffered an average drop in revenue of 89 per cent — a downturn 11 times the impact of 9/11 and nine times the impact of the 2008 financial crash. Forecasts already paint a bleak image. 2019 revenue levels are not likely to be seen again until 2024. Another summer of revenue desecration brought on by the sluggish distribution of vaccines could pulverise a sector already on life support. 

No concrete estimate of just how many billions of euros have turned to dust owing to lost business has been produced, though the last global figure put the Covid bill at around £20 trillion. The EU’s GDP, the measure of the value of all goods and services sold and bought across a year, fell by 7.1 per cent in 2020, with extended lockdowns throwing the prospect of a ‘V’ shaped recovery into serious doubt. This type of recovery becomes even more unlikely should a holiday-hungry Britain be denied access to precious time in the European sun.

Ultimately, the EU’s burden of responsibility has once again started to maul the bloc from within. Maintaining the financial and health security of 27 different nations was never going to be easy, but the lagging executive leadership of the European Union has just made it inexplicably harder. Summer 2021 is currently looking like it will be a Brit-free zone.

For all the stereotypical ignominy of boozed-up ‘lads’ in a cheap Spanish hotel, it’s their nightly rates that keep the cleaners in a job. Without a vaccine-enabled tourism boom, Europe could very easily see thousands of businesses go bust.