The unified action of the EU Block is falling apart.
The UK Brexit negotiations began to undercut the concept of EU Block action. Britain tried to negotiate with individual member states prior to Brexit but the Big Brother EU Commission reminded member states of the EU that they could not act individually but had to stand together as a Block to get the best deal with Britain. Instead the deal slipped through their fingers when Boris Johnson got a large majority at the 2019 General Election and he went about Brexit in his own way. The threatened queues at Dover did not materialise but EU queues arose at EU borders during the coronavirus vaccine fiasco.
The coronavirus pandemic blew apart the no-border policy of the European Union. Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Hungary, Finland and Sweden have border controls contrary to EU policy on free movement of goods and people, and they have been put on the European Commission’s naughty list.
The coronavirus vaccine fiasco led to individual countries negotiating for the vaccine, again undermining the EU Block-action policy.
The EU’s growing anti-Russian sentiment is being used or at least interpreted as justifying the militarisation of the EU. The EU wants to rid itself of reliance on NATO and at the recent Munich Security Conference 2021 President Macron of France said that the EU will need to finance its own defence, the very thing that President Trump was criticised for saying a few years ago. Macron said: “I think it is time for us to take much more of the burden of our own protection. … If we are too much dependent [on] the US within NATO, we can put ourselves in the situation to be no more protected at our borders.” At the same event, US President Joe Biden said Putin of Russia wants to break up the EU. Catalan independence is interpreted by the EU as Russian interference.
The result is that Russia intends to bypass the EU and to negotiate with individual member states. This is seen already in the Russian-German gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2 , which the EU says it does not need but which is in Germany’s hands. France has also negotiated with Russia historically. If more countries do so, how will the EU hold the line?
Slowly, the world is learning that some things are “too big to manage” as well as the more commonly quoted “too big too fail”.
8 Mar 2021: Russia is now ignoring the EU and dealing directly with Germany, and Germany with China.
10 Mar 2021: Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, has been complaining recently that the blame for the slow roll-out of the coronavirus vaccine among EU countries is falling upon her shoulders. To the rescue rides the President of the European Council Charles Michel with his ridiculous claim that the UK and the US have imposed an outright ban on the export of vaccines or vaccine components produced on their territory. AstraZeneca made it clear from the beginning that its vaccine was being sold at cost price so that it would be affordable throughout the world, but possibly Michel was so behind the curve in the EU scramble to catch up that he never noticed it. At least those who are confused about the difference between the European Commission and the European Council now have two Presidents to clarify the difference, and who can now share our astonishment. Things will get better for the EU which wants to increase the number of its Presidents from three to six, so that there will be more to share the blame with Ursula, but it also increases the probability of one of them saying something silly. America had only one President in Donald Trump to take all the vitriol levelled at him and his administration.
19 Mar 2021: as a third wave of coronavirus threatens Europe, and the EU has still not got its act together, Italy is planning to order the Russian Sputnik V vaccine although the EMA has not yet approved it, and Germany may do the same, says Angela Merkel.
23 Mar 2021: a good summary of EU incompetence by Professor Alan Sked.