Jean-Claude Juncker reflects on EU’s Maastricht Treaty
When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.
A majority say the bloc is diminished as a result of eurocrats bungled handling of the crisis following the EU’s sluggish vaccine rollout, a new poll found. Fury is strongest in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Austria, where more than half of respondents said the Brussels project was “broken”. The bombshell revelation was evident during extensive polling and research by the influential European Council of Foreign Relations.
French people emerged as the biggest eurosceptics, with around 62 percent of those polled describing the EU as “broken” rather than “working well”.
The results will likely be a cause for concern in Brussels and Paris ahead of an election showdown between Emmanuel Macron and eurosceptic right-wing leader Marine Le Pen next April.
In Germany, 55 percent perceived the EU as “kaput” with more than one in five thinking it was “completely broken” – up by 11 percent in the last year.
Around 57 percent of respondents from pandemic-stricken Italy expressed the same view.
For traditional europhile Spaniards the figure was 52 percent and in Austria it was 51 percent.
Mr Juncker described the slump in support for Brussels as a temporary phenomenon.
He said it was partly down to a bumpy start to the coronavirus pandemic and a shortage of vaccines.
The ardent europhile said the coronavirus crisis was an example of why more competences should be handed to eurocrats.
He also claimed it was too easy for national governments to blame Brussels because the EU has no real public health powers.
“But people quickly realised that it would lead to a dead-end if everyone muddled around by themselves,” Mr Juncker said.
Brussels’ failure to outperform the UK and other rivals such as the United States was seen as an “existential” crisis, according to the ECFR polling across 12 EU countries.
Susi Dennison and Jana Puglierin, authors of the report, said: “The onslaught of the pandemic was the EU’s chance to prove to citizens that it could move quickly and decisively in their best interests.
MUST READ: Sefcovic’s parting dig at Boris after Brexit talks end in deadlock
“The slow and chaotic start to the vaccine rollout at the beginning of 2021 raised big questions about the EU’s capacity to steer its member states through the crisis. Disappointment with EU institutions has now come out of the periphery and gone mainstream.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s bungled vaccine rollout sparked fury across the bloc.
The top eurocrat took personal charge of a Brussels-led initiative to secure enough doses for the EU’s 27 member states.
But it only left hundreds of millions of Europeans reeling after it emerged Brexit Britain had used its newly-won freedoms to secure and administer vaccines much faster than the bloc.
Brexit LIVE: Do as we says or lose your US trade deal! Ireland gloats [UPDATES]
Blackford shamed over attack on Britain’s aid to world in heated PMQs [VIDEO]
Yanis Varoufakis fury as he admits why he switched Brexit sides [INSIGHT]
Jean-Claude Juncker says vaccine ‘major success’ for EU
The ECFR report said: “The fact that two of the EU’s largest and most influential states — France and Germany — are the least convinced about the need for European cooperation underlines the urgency with which the EU needs to up its game.
“Both countries have important national elections coming up in the next year, which may present a challenge for the EU’s leaders — with euroscepticism having increased due to EU institutions’ poor handling of the vaccine rollout.”
In France, just 38 percent of people polled thought EU membership was still a good thing.
Despite majorities in all other countries, the ECFR suggested the EU is “extremely fragile”.
Its experts said: “If the EU fails to build up its resilience to the new sorts of crises our interconnected world faces today, our data indicates that the EU itself may risk becoming another casualty of COVID-19.”
As a result of Brexit, the prevailing view across the countries surveyed is that Britain is now seen as a “necessary partner”.
One in four Germans and around one in five Austrians, French and Spanish respondents now view the UK as a “rival” or “adversary” after Britain’s EU split.
Source: Read Full Article