EU vaccination debacle: only to be expected?

In mid-January the EU Commission announced ambitious goals according to which at least 80 percent of people aged over 80, as well as of those working in health and social professions, were to be vaccinated by March. However, by the end of March just under 60 percent of people over the age of 80 had received the first dose across the EU. Many are pinning the blame on the bloc's unwieldy bureaucracy, but is this justified?

Open/close all quotes
Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Too much paperwork everywhere

Far too much time and effort goes into a single vaccination in the EU, Gazeta Wyborcza criticises:

“In the EU countries vaccines are still mainly administered in hospitals and special vaccination centres, for which strict requirements apply. In addition, patients can often only make an appointment for a vaccination once they've received a specific, centrally or regionally issued invitation. Then there's the complex online registration, the long waiting times for a vaccination appointment and the complicated forms that have to be filled out at the vaccination centres. Time is of the essence, because while the number of infections and deaths in the US and Britain is falling rapidly thanks to vaccinations, and restrictions are being lifted, the EU countries are struggling with a third wave of the pandemic.”

Le Figaro (FR) /

Europe does not recognise its own power

The EU's self-perception does not tally with how it is viewed by the rest of the world, explains geopolitical advisor Jérémie Gallon in Le Figaro:

“In Washington, New Delhi, Ottawa, Canberra and Brasilia, the European Union is perceived as a major normative power. ... Unfortunately, this normative power for which the EU is envied by part of the world, this soft power which it exercises to enforce its interests and values, is not known to the vast majority of our fellow citizens ... While governments the world over admire the ability of the European Commission to mobilise experts capable of dealing with the most complex issues while employing fewer civil servants than the city of Paris, our fellow citizens see it as a bureaucratic machine that is not even capable of organising an effective vaccination campaign.”