Emmanuel Macron uprising: MPs turn on leader after he demands France gives away vaccines

Vaccine: Macron 'acting Trumpian' over UK rollout says Neil

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He said yesterday he believed the imbalance between access to vaccinations across the world was “politically unsustainable” and could fuel a “war of influence over vaccines”. Mr Macron also issued a warning over the roles played by China and Russia in offering their own inoculations to countries facing supply gaps.

But his call for vaccine doses to be shared with developing countries across the world was lambasted by French politicians as the French leader is still struggling to speed up his own vaccine strategy at home.

National Rally MEP Dominique Bilde said: “This comes from a President that only got 500 people vaccinated in a week…”

Echoing her comments, France Insoumise MEP Manon Aubry said: “New episode of Macron contradicting himself.

“He is furious that Africa does not have vaccines while France refuses to eliminate patents.”

Speaking to the Financial Times on Thursday, Mr Macron said: “We are allowing the idea to take hold that hundreds of millions of vaccines are being given in rich countries and that we are not starting in poor countries.

“It’s an unprecedented acceleration of global inequality and it’s politically unsustainable because it’s paving the way for a war of influence over vaccines.

“You can see the Chinese strategy, and the Russian strategy too.”

The Frenchman vowed to clamp down on western vaccine manufacturers, warning: “We will apply all the pressure we can.”

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Despite France’s vaccination scheme lagging behind that of Britain or the US, Mr Macron said diverting a small share of doses to Africa is an acceptable move.

“The key is to move quicker,” he said.

“We are not talking about billions of doses immediately, or billions and billions of euros.

“It’s about much more rapidly allocating four or five percent of the doses we have.

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“It won’t change our vaccination campaigns, but each country should set aside a small number of the doses it has to transfer tens of millions of them, but very fast, so that people on the ground see it happening.”

Mr Macron claimed he had the support of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to start sharing the bloc’s vaccines with Africa.

He added: “She supports it and we are in agreement.”

It would be a “fully European and co-operative initiative”, the French leader claimed.

It comes as the African Union’s (AU) vaccine task team said on Friday that Russia had offered it 300 million doses of its Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine along with a financing package for countries wanting to secure the shots.

The Russian vaccine will be available for a period of 12 months starting May 2021, it said in a statement. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is responsible for marketing the vaccine abroad, said some deliveries could start in May but most would be from June.

The 55-member AU hopes to see 60 percent of the continent’s 1.3 billion people immunised over roughly the next three years.

their immunisation campaigns, just a handful of countries in Africa have started to roll out vaccination programmes.

John Nkengasong, director of the AU’s disease control body, said in the statement: “We are grateful to receive the Sputnik V vaccines from the Russian Federation and tremendously proud to be able to offer them… for our AU Member States.

“Bilateral and private sector partnerships such as these are critical in our efforts to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to an end.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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