It is the latest sign of the power of the Covid-19 vaccines: The number of new cases is declining, often sharply, in countries that have vaccinated a large share of residents.
That’s the situation in Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Britain. Cases are also declining in the U.S., which is not as far along as those three countries but is well ahead of most.
And on the other end of the spectrum is the European continent.
writes from Rome: “Governments are putting exhausted populations under lockdown. Street protests are turning violent. A year after the virus began spreading in Europe, things feel unnervingly the same.”
Eyck Freymann and Elettra Ardissino write in Foreign Policy: “Spring in the European Union is going to be dismal.” Bild, a German newspaper, recently ran the headline “Liebe Briten, We Beneiden You!” — a mixture of German and English that means “Dear Brits, We Envy You!” Wolfgang Münchau of Eurointelligence has said that Europe’s vaccination program rivals the continent’s budget austerity of recent years as “the E.U.’s worst policy error during my lifetime.”
Why has Europe done so poorly? There are three main reasons.
1. Too much bureaucracy
While the U.S. and other countries rushed to sign agreements with vaccine makers, the E.U. first tried to make sure all 27 of its member countries agreed on how to approach the negotiations. Europe chose “to prioritize process over speed and to put solidarity between E.U. countries ahead of giving individual governments more room to maneuver,” Jillian Deutsch and Sarah Wheaton write for Politico Europe.
The result was slower regulatory approval of the vaccines and delayed agreements to buy doses, forcing Europe to wait in line behind countries that moved faster.