Swede Charlie Weimers, of the European Conservatives and Reformists, said the Commission-led joint procurement programme has been a catalogue of “arrogance and incompetence”.
His fiery rant comes after six EU capitals decided to go it alone to secure supplies of life-saving coronavirus vaccines instead of wait for eurocrats to deliver the doses. And despite growing anger over its sluggish rollout of jabs, the Commission has insisted its scheme is “not unravelling”.
Swedish Democrat MEP Mr Weimers said more countries should join the mutiny to avoid being left in the wake of Britain’s highly successful vaccine scheme.
He said: “It’s been a catalogue of U-turns, arrogance and incompetence for the EU over the vaccine. The latest is Mr Macron saying he is now happy to take the AstraZeneca vaccine after previously claiming it’s not reliable.
“Countries such as Austria, Denmark, Slovakia and Poland have had enough of EU dithering and started to purchase their own vaccines. Opposition parties in Sweden have called for doing the same but the government seems to be sticking to its bet on Brussels.
“This vaccine debacle has dealt a serious blow to the EU’s ambition to be a superior replacement for the nation-state and has further tarnished its reputation for crisis response around the world. The public across Europe have now seen the true face and incompetency of the EU.”
Austria and Denmark are leading the charge in the break away from Commission boss Ursula von der Leyen’s programme.
And Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have already unveiled plans to go it alone with Chinese and Russian-made vaccines, which are not yet approved by EU regulators.
The bloc has so far only managed to administer 33.3 million doses of coronavirus vaccines, just 7.5 per cent of their 450-million population.
Meanwhile, one in every three British adults has received their first jab with the NHS delivering more than 20 million shots.
In a bid to salvage the Commission’s reputation, a spokesman for the EU executive said: “It’s not that the strategy unravelled. For our vaccines, we go through the European Medicines Agency because we want to ensure efficacy and safety. What member states do in addition to that, it’s their responsibility.”
He added that eurocrats are keen to “learn lessons” from countries outperforming the bloc in the vaccine race. The Amsterdam-based European Medicines Agency has faced criticism for its slow approval process for coronavirus jabs.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz fumed that the EU’s drugs watchdog had been “too slow”. He will this week jet to Israel to attempt to buy up some of the country’s leftover vaccine to plug gaps in the supply of jabs secured by the EU.
“We must therefore prepare for further mutations and should no longer be dependent only on the EU for the production of second-generation vaccines,” he told Bild, Germany’s biggest selling newspaper.
Danish PM Mette Frederiksen has signalled she will also travel to Tel Aviv to broker her own agreement for excess vaccines.
Poland and Hungary are in talks with Beijing to secure millions of more doses of the Chinese-backed Sinopharm. Hungarian PM Viktor Orban last weekend posed for the cameras receiving the controversial shot.
The firebrand leader has secured a deal for the Kremlin-backed Sputnik V jab, which is also being shipped to Slovakia and the Czech Republic. France is under pressure to dish out supplies of its AstraZeneca after senior ministers sought to discredit it.
Regulators moved to approve the jab for over-65s after it emerged just 24 per cent of the country’s supplies had been used. President Emmanuel Macron had previously claimed the Oxford-produced shot was “quasi-ineffective” in older people.
Germany and Belgium are set to follow suit within days amid their own battles to roll out doses of the life-saving vaccine. The countries are currently restricting its use despite real-world data showing the jab to be highly effective in over-80s.
Belgium has until now only recommended the AstraZeneca jab is used for under-55s but has been forced to “reset” its strategy because of its sluggish rollout. Germany, which has restricted the jab to under-65s, has only been able to use 15 per cent of its stocks so far.