European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen acknowledged on Wednesday the EU’s failure to approve and launch a vaccine against COVID-19 and said the EU has learned a lesson in the process.
The European Union chief executive was speaking to members of the European Parliament after criticism of the slow introduction of vaccines and the plan to curb exports, establishing a hard border on the island of Ireland, which caused strong protests in London.
Von der Leyen said that 26 million doses of vaccine have been delivered. By the end of this summer, 70% of the adults in the Group of 27 should be vaccinated.
She told EU Parliament members: “However, the truth is that we are not where we want to fight the virus today. We approved very late. We were too optimistic about mass production.”
Von der Leyen said: “Maybe we were too sure that these orders will actually be delivered on time. ” She pointed out that the decision which led to export restrictions was also wrong. She said: “I deeply regret it.” She added that the Commission will do its best to protect peace in Northern Ireland.