Greece ‘more bankrupt than ever’ says Varoufakis
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The left-wing economist added he has “a little bit of egg on my face” for supporting the Remain campaign. Europe has been hit by repeated supply problems and is currently lagging far behind the UK on the number of COVID-19 jabs administered.
Britain has vaccinated around one person in every 20, versus a little over one person in four for the EU.
EU member states gave the European Commission authority to buy vaccines on their behalf, whereas Britain chose to act independently.
However the Commission failed to secure enough vaccines and only placed an order for the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab three months after the UK.
Speaking to Newsweek International Mr Varoufakis said: “The EU commission has been behaving as if they were on the payroll of Brexiteers with a remit to justify Brexit, it is astonishing, it’s a comedy of errors in Brussels.
“It’s as if it was designed by Eurosceptics in order to sanctify Brexit, it’s very difficult to argue against Brexit now if you look at the vaccination fiasco.
“You have eight times more people vaccinated in Britain as we speak than in Germany, don’t talk about Greece.
“It’s clear that Britain would have been hamstrung in that department had it not left the EU.
“Had it stayed in the EU you would have had to abide by the rules we Greeks have to abide by, the approval of the vaccines would have taken months longer than it did in the UK, you would have one-tenth of the vaccinations that you have so it is to Brexiteers delight what has been happening in the EU.”
Mr Varoufakis served as Greek finance minister from January to July 2015 during the Eurozone financial crisis.
He urged Greek citizens to vote against bailout terms from Greece’s creditors in a referendum, then was side-lined when prime minister Alexis Tsipras decided to make concessions.
During the 2016 Brexit referendum he urged Britons to vote Remain in the hope the EU could be reformed, despite his previously strident criticism of the European Commission.
In the interview, Mr Varoufakis accused Brussels of covering up its COVID-19 vaccine failures using similar tactics to those adopted during the Euro crisis.
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He commented: “Everything I now hear from Brussels is now so reminiscent of what was going on during the Euro crisis, the blame game, the Commission trying to cover bad decisions by making worse decisions, disarray, nationalism, fragmentation.
“I fought against Brexit, but I have to say there is a little bit of egg on my face as we speak because I can’t in all honesty say to you that I don’t regret supporting Remain five years ago, it would be dishonest of me to say that.”
Britain rejected an offer to join the European Medicines Agency vaccine procurement programme and instead struck out on its own.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen later admitted the UK acted more like a “speedboat” than the EU “tanker” in securing vaccines.
She added the Commission had “underestimated the difficulties” it would face acquiring jabs.
EU members are also lagging well behind Israel, the US and the United Arab Emirates on the number of vaccines distributed per 100 people.
Israel is leading the world having administered a first jab to around 60 percent of its population.
On Wednesday the UK gave another 450,810 a first coronavirus vaccine.
The Government remains well on target to vaccinate the 15 million most vulnerable Britons by the middle of the month.
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