I am angry to see that European leaders were so naïve, unlike their British and American counterparts, that they had not requested that the pharmaceutical companies to whom they gave research grants also give them priority for the delivery of the vaccines that would be created in return. I am angry to see the EU leaders continue to believe in an angelic way in the opening of their common borders, whereas it has been known for a very long time that the survival of the European Union depends on a common and aggressive industrial and trade policy, particularly in the key areas of the economy of life. I am angry to see them negotiate prices as low as possible, to the detriment of the only thing that mattered: availability. I am angry that they refused to surround themselves with experts in these negotiations, and instead conducted them themselves, without any skills. I am also angry that they delayed the signing of the contracts to protect the negotiators from the slightest legal risk, even if imaginary.
I am angry to have heard them claim that the citizens of the European continent would never have agreed to divulge their personal medical data for vaccines, as the Israelis would have agreed. Firstly, because this is a lie: the Israelis only gave anonymised data, which is not the same thing at all. Secondly, even if this had been true, the Europeans would have had to be offered this choice and I am not sure they would have refused. I am angry that no media outlet has had any reproach against the author for this lie, which has been repeated a thousand times over.
I am still angry to hear European leaders promise us, in an incredible cacophony, that we will all be covered by the vaccine on May 15 or July 14 or September 21. And this by the same people, sometimes on the same day. This chaos, this lack of coordination, and this inability to state a clear objective are intolerable.
Lastly, I am enraged to see them, after this global disaster, continue to strut around every day, claiming that they have managed this issue perfectly and that they are the best in the world.
They are lying to us. They are lying to themselves. They are playing us for fools. They are behaving like fools.
Making mistakes is human. However, refusing to acknowledge those mistakes, lying and hiding it and refusing to learn from it is criminal. More than that: acknowledging one’s mistakes is politically shrewd. Thus, on Wednesday March 24, after an emergency meeting with the leaders of the German regional states, the German Chancellor was applauded by her people for announcing that she was reversing her decision to impose a stricter confinement for the Easter holidays: “A mistake must be called a mistake, and more importantly, it must be corrected and if possible in time. I know that this proposal has caused additional uncertainty, I deeply regret it and for this I ask for the forgiveness of all citizens.”
This is what we would like to hear as soon as possible from the leaders of the European Commission and the Council on vaccines. And the leaders among them who refuse to say so should be ruthlessly dismissed by the governments that appointed them. This is not only necessary as a punishment for what they have done, or failed to do, or covered up, but also because, if they lie about the past, they will be unable to manage the future in a sound manner.
Moreover, the European Parliament has a great opportunity to make its voice heard, demand sanctions, strengthen its power, and bring greater legitimacy to its role.
This is what we would also like to hear from the leaders of each Member State in the Union. They should not believe that acknowledging these faults would be more damaging to the European project than continuing to cover them up. The opposite is true.
More generally, this is what has been missing in Europe since the beginning of this crisis: Europeans have been lied to about masks, tests, vaccines, and so many other things. The leaders have never admitted to being wrong, to being late, or to having lied on any of these issues. And yet, no one has been fooled and citizens are adult enough to hear the truth.
And more generally, by allowing lies to accumulate, by not acknowledging their mistakes, by not drawing the due consequences, political professionals should not be surprised if voters lose confidence in them. And later, if voters even lose confidence in democracy.