EU’s PPE Scheme Fails to Deliver

Late yesterday afternoon was mired in political farce when the FCO boss Simon McDonald suggested that Britain’s decision not to take part in the EU’s PPE procurement scheme was a “political” one, in direct contradiction to the Government’s given explanation of an email communications failure. Hancock immediately denied the claim by McDonald and hours later the top mandarin issued a correction stating he was wrong and it was, after all, not a political decision. The writers of Yes Minister would have rejected such a scenario…

Further confusion lies in Matt Hancock’s claim at yesterday’s press briefing that “We did receive an invitation in the Department of Health and it was put up to me to be asked and we joined so we are now members of that scheme”, however an EU Commission spokesman soon after said the UK is not currently involved in any of the EU’s efforts to buy PPE, though we are “most welcome to participate in future rounds”.

Regardless of the merits of UK non-participation at first in a scheme being run by a foreign political body we are no longer members of, it is on form for the media to portray theoretical participation in the scheme as a land of milk and honey, when weeks on from the start of the crisis, the EU scheme has not delivered a single piece of PPE equipment to a single member state.

Not only are countries like Italy and Spain reaching the end stages of their Coronavirus pandemic having not seen PPE help from the EU, according to the Irish Medical Timeson the 24th March an EU Commission spokesman said, “The equipment should be available two weeks after the Member States sign the contracts with the bidders, which they should do very rapidly,”. If the UK Government missed a deadline this badly, you can be sure the media would be canning them…

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mdi-account-multiple-outline Matt Hancock Simon McDonald
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