Joint statement by Michael Fitzmaurice and Thomas Pringle – Thinking Independently

 

Von Der Leyen must come clear on great border blunder

10 questions the Government must ask Europe on Article 16

The Government should haul Ursula Von Der Leyen and the European Commission over the coals over the Article 16 blunder, according to independent TDs Michael Fitzmaurice and Thomas Pringle.

The statement continued: “This blunder is part of a pattern of European political mismanagement which must be challenged by Micheal Martin, Leo Varadkar, Simon Coveney and Stephen Donnelly.

“Ireland’s own Commissioner must also be far more assertive in protecting the interests of the people who elected her. Ms McGuinness should also come clean over what she knew about the Article 16 debacle and explain, if she did not know anything, why this was the case?

“Trust has been profoundly damaged in Europe’s bona-fides by this event and by the stuttering progress of the vaccine roll out. We need answers and accountability, rather than promises of future better behaviour.

“Phil Hogan lost his head over a round of golf; but as a Trade Commissioner he would not have been bypassed so easily on this matter. Ms Von Der Leyen must now satisfactorily answer the following ten questions if she is to keep her position.”

The 10 Von Der Leyen questions

  1. Why is Europe’s vaccine roll out plan stuttering, whilst the likes of Israel and Britain are forging ahead – all be it with the latter prioritising delivering the first jab and extending the weight time to the second?
  2. When will we get a full explanation of why AstraZeneca said it would only be delivering 31 million doses of its vaccine by the end of March, instead of the 80 million that Europe had been expecting?
  3. Why was the Commission caught completely off guard by this?
  4. Has Europe been too concerned about price at the expense of securing production deadlines?
  5. Do the vaccine producers believe they only need to make ‘reasonable best efforts’ to deliver the agreed upon number of doses within the negotiated timeframe?
  6. How will Europe meet its objectives to vaccinate 70% of adults by the summer?
  7. What efforts is Ms Von Der Leyen making to get assurances from AstraZeneca that they will deliver on the originally agreed upon vaccine delivery order?
  8. How did the Article 16 diplomatic debacle in Anglo Irish/EU affairs occur and who decided to blindside the Irish Government?
  9. Who came up with the Article 16 plan, who authorized its implementation and why did it take so long to countermand the plan?
  10. What was the state of knowledge across the EU top table and when will Ms Von Der Leyen come up with a full and coherent explanation for this chaos?

“The Commissioner and Europe is facing a crisis of credibility over how one of the most allegedly affluent regions in the world is unable to protect its citizens from a deadly disease.

“Increasingly Ms Von Der Leyen is being surrounded by accusations of mismanagement and evidence of an incapacity to deliver. The Government must stand up for the Irish people and seek answers on these issues from Ms Von Der Leyen and from our Commissioner, Ms McGuinness, too.”

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