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The Roots of the EU’s Vaccine Debacle

Europe's slow COVID-19 vaccination rollout highlights, yet again, that it is not institutionally suited to nimble executive action, and that its complicated decision-making mechanisms are an obstacle to accountability. As long as this remains true, crises will continue to get the better of Europe.

BRUSSELS – When it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations, Europe is lagging far behind its peers. So far, less than 15% of the European Union’s population has received at least one dose, compared to 31% in the United States and 45% in the United Kingdom. The EU’s failure is so profound that the normally placid World Health Organization recently felt compelled to reiterate the obvious: the slow vaccine rollout will prolong the pandemic, with high human and economic costs.