UK has 'lost all confidence in Von Der Leyen' says Kuenssberg
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Speaking to Express.co.uk, the leader of the Italian Sovranist Front, Stefano D’Andrea, lashed out against the European Commission President arguing the latest attempt to punish the UK for its decision to leave the EU was clearly in line with the bloc’s “tough attitude” against eurosceptics. Asked how he judged Mrs von der Leyen’s attempt to ban all vaccine exports from the EU to Northern Ireland, Mr D’Andrea said: “With regard to the United Kingdom, it seems to me that there has been an extremist attitude in the European Union since the very beginning.
“As a matter of fact, it is not accepted that anyone can leave the EU.
“Even in Italy, all pro-Europeans have this idea.
“I am talking about law professors who have suffered from Brexit even though it was an issue that did not concern them.
“So it seems to me that the Commission was perfectly in line, at least at the declamatory level, with this position.
“They always had a tough attitude from the start.”
The left-wing Italian eurosceptic hopes one day Italy will free itself from Brussels’ shackles and join the UK as an independent country outside the bloc.
Mr D’Andrea also blasted the Commission chief over her “unrealistic” pledge to ensure 70 percent of Europeans will be vaccinated by the end of summer 2021.
He said: “The European Union does not have an administrative machine but uses state administrative machines.
“So someone from the European Union who says ‘we’ll do this in seven months’ is already an idiot if they believe in it.
“How can you make such an unrealistic statement?
“It’s obviously unrealistic, you can’t believe it, you don’t know things, you don’t control them.
“The European Union is greatly nonsensical.”
Mrs von der Leyen was forced to defend herself after she moved to trigger Article 16 of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement putting a ban on vaccine exports to Northern Ireland.
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The move, criticised by EU leaders and in particular by Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin, was then retracted, albeit leaving the Commission President in a difficult position.
The Commission also engaged in a bitter contractual row with vaccine supplier AstraZeneca after it emerged the jab producers were forced to cut down the number of doses promised to EU countries.
Mrs von der Leyen was forced to apologise for attempting to use a delicate clause of the Brexit deal to benefit the EU’s procurement of vaccine supplies.
On Monday, the EU’s Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly found the Commission had failed to ensure its European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) could act in a transparent way.
Ms O’Reilly blasted the Commission President as she claimed Mrs von der Leyen “played a trick” on Europeans.
She told Politico: “You should not set up an agency that calls itself the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and then not allow it to do that.
“That’s a trick that is being played on the public.”
The Ombudsman found the Commission failed to provide full transparency and accountability on the collection of Covid data from member states throughout the pandemic.
When the row broke out with AstraZeneca over demands to make its vaccine contract public, “suddenly the Commission was calling for transparency,” Ms O’Reilly said.
She added: “They saw the value in transparency because it was in their interest.
“So they need to perhaps spend as much time and attention looking at the public interest when releasing this.
“It can’t be the institutions who control the tap…the public interest has to override everything.”
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