Zaila da era egoki batez EB-k kudeatu dezakeen edozertaz pentsatzea

Bill Mitchell-en It’s hard to conceive of anything the EU could manage properly


(i) Brexit ez dute onartu askotxok, oraindik

Since Britain left the European Union, the Remainer Woke Brigade (RWB) has associated every little bit of bad news that has been published about that nation to the decision to leave the EU. Op Ed articles, Tweets and the like. All scathing of the decision, indicating a failure to accept the democratic volition of the 2016 Referendum. They lost. They can’t get over it. But in the last few weeks there has been an extraordinary silence from this media ‘traffic’. It is of no surprise to me that this should be so. Their beloved EU has been demonstrating across multiple fronts why no sensible nation would want to be part of it bungling and dysfunctional membership. I also admit that I have been astounded how bad things have become under this European administration. Britain did the right thing in getting free of it even though its political scene is not yet capable of dealing with the new scope it now has. But the events of the last few weeks in Europe have been nothing short of breathtaking in their hypocrisy, incompetence and venality. The cosmopolitan progressive set have surely now realised that their dreams of pan-national workers paradise led by Brussels is just a figment of their own imagination.

(ii) Europar Batasuna (EB) , krisia eta Covid-19

First, we are now 13 months into the worst crisis in a century and the virus is hardly under control in Europe.

If we visit the EU’s information source – Recovery plan for Europe – we find a lot of glowing description about the “recovery plan that will lead the way out of the crisis” and “lay the foundations for a modern and more sustainable Europe”.

But we also realise that the NextGenerationEU package was only just agreed upon (December 17, 2020).

The funding plan hasn’t yet been agreed upon by the Member States.

The funding to date that has been disbursed is trivial by comparison with what is necessary and is in the form of loans rather than unconditional disbursements.

Baskongadetakoek irentsi dute amu pozoitsu hori… (

The process through which the agreement was finally reached was marked by walk-outs, cross-nation abuse, acrimony and division. There was nothing like solidarity on display.

When an agreement was reached it was pitiful in scope and the proportion of loans rose and grants fell.

The Northern states (including the ridiculous ‘frugal four’) who at the time were experiencing less COVID issues refused to allow the Southern states any leeway in terms of unqualified grants.

This is at a time when GDP growth has been plunging. While there was some recovery during the third-quarter as summer brought some relief from the first wave and tourist spending increased, I expect the situation to deteriorate when we get the next set of data in, given the second wave has been much worse than the first and nations are being forced to go into lockdowns again to prevent their hospital systems from being overwhelmed.

The following graph shows the GDP growth rates for most EU nations (given Eurostat data availability) between the fourth-quarter 2020 and the third-quarter 2021 (red triangles) and between the fourth-quarter 2020 and the second-quarter 2021 (blue bars).

The data captures an economic situation where stimulus was required quickly and in substantial quantum, a requirement that the European Union is incapable of meeting given its dysfunctional structure and lack of solidarity across the geographic space.

I should also add that the Commission caved in on Hungary and Poland so that they would not scuttle the bailout package.

It is obvious that these nations are now violating EU rule-of-law standards. Also, in Poland’s case, the EU relented on its coal rules to allow the nation to continue polluting.

(iii) EB, Britainia Handia, Covid-19 eta txertaketa.

Second, more recently, we have seen the worst of European Commission behaviour in the way it has chosen to deal with the vaccine availability issue.

On January 29, 2021, the EU published – Vaccines: contract between European Commission and AstraZeneca now published – which was an attempt to guilt-trip the company into diverting supply of its vaccine to the EU.

The contract beween the Commission and the company was signed on August 27, 2020.

I don’t propose to go into the arcane legal meanings of words and the like.

It is clear that the contract says that the company will ensure the “best reasonable efforts” to meet issues that arise in its supply chain between the various agreements it has in place with nations and or blocs (like the EU).

The dispute is that the company is producing at various locations but the manufacturing process in Belgium and the Netherlands has encountered issues which means that the EU will not get as much as it thought for the time being.

As a result, the EU is demanding supply produced in Britain is diverted to the EU although the company has indicated its contracts with the British government prevents this from occurring.

The Commission President claimed that “There are binding orders and the contract is crystal clear”.

But we note, for example, that the Australian government signed its contract with AstraZeneca before the EU signed its contract.

And the British government signed its contract in June 2020 – that is, three months before the EU got around to securing a deal.

That delay is not inconsequential and the differential rates of vaccination to date between Britain and the EU nations tells a story in itself.

The company told the media last week that the earlier start to production in the UK has allowed it to smooth out any manufacturing glitches much more quickly in the case of the UK supply.

It is also apparent now that the contract with the UK is binding whereas the EU contract is about “best effort”, although a lawyer would have to tell us what the actual difference between those states is.

The EU’s response has been to rave on about legal obligations under contracts.

But are those obligations only about Europe?

Does the EU also respect the contract, say with Australia which came before its own deal? Or the British contract?

They are all legally binding.

Why should the EU think it has the moral high ground to demand its contract be fulfilled first, which in an environment of supply constraints means that the company would have to significantly deprive other contractual customers?

The EU has also responded by putting in place what are essentially export controls on any vaccine produced within Europe.

They are calling it a “transparency mechanism” (a typical sort of term they use). But it essentially means that the bullies in Brussels can deny authorisation for vaccine exports to non-EU nations.

At last count, 100 countries were included in the ban, including the US, UK, and Australia.

This has consolidated the trend that has been referred to as ‘vaccine nationalism’ which betrays any notion of cosmopolitanism in the EU.

The Europhile progressives love to talk about the big-heart of Europe as opposed to the small-mindedness of nation states.

But I have always said the ‘cosmopolitanism’ of Europe ends at its borders where they allow young children to die on beaches.

But even within the EU, there is no cosmopolitan solidarity or convergence.

The whole set up is divergent.

(iv) Txertaketa Munduan zehar

Already, there is evidence that the rich nations of the world are securing vaccine supply while poorer nations are finding it difficult.

The WHO’s COVAX plan is underfunded and will be under-supplied.

The evidence seems to be that this is another myopic strategy of neoliberal infested nations. It seems the contracts for the rich nations covers their own populations several times.1

We cannot have open borders if significant virus is still around and replicating into new strains – which we have no idea whether they will worsen the crisis.

So it is in everyone’s interest to get as much coverage as possible.

I read this report over the weekend – COVID-19 and the cost of vaccine nationalism – which detailed why we should avoid ‘vaccine nationalism’.

One of the constraints on supply is cost.

Which is obviously where Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) comes in.

(v) DTM eta txertaketa, EB-ren ‘txertaketa-nazioalismoa’

The rich, currency-issuing countries should announce immediately they will underwrite the purchase and delivery of the vaccine across the globe without requiring any payback from the poorer nations.

A simple stroke of the pen.

The Report makes it clear that this would not necessarily be just an act of charity:

If these high-income countries paid for the supply of vaccines, there could be a benefit-to-cost ratio of 4.8 to 1. For every $1 spent, high-income countries would get back about $4.8.

Such will be the GDP losses in the high-income nations.

But the EU is taking ‘vaccine nationalism’ to a new level with its export controls.

Which is why the Twitter set who constantly run the ‘Brexit is a disaster’ line are silent at present.

Their glorious EU is not drowning itself in much glory with its behaviour on the world stage at present.

It is looking like a very tawdry lot.

It couldn’t organise its contracts in time, now it wants to close its doors and let the rest of the world suffer. Hardly an example of pan-national cooperation.

Then we get to the latest fiasco which really shows how out of touch the EU has become and how self-important it is in its arrogance.

On Friday, January 29, 2021 , the EU invoked Article 16 of the – North Ireland Protocol – which was part of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement to formalise Brexit.

Article 16 is entitled ‘Safeguards’ and reads (first two clauses):

1. If the application of this Protocol leads to serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade, the Union or the United Kingdom may unilaterally take appropriate safeguard measures. Such safeguard measures shall be restricted with regard to their scope and duration to what is strictly necessary in order to remedy the situation. Priority shall be given to such measures as will least disturb the functioning of this Protocol.

2. If a safeguard measure taken by the Union or the United Kingdom, as the case may be, in accordance with paragraph 1 creates an imbalance between the rights and obligations under this Protocol, the Union or the United Kingdom, as the case may be, may take such proportionate rebalancing measures as are strictly necessary to remedy the imbalance. Priority shall be given to such measures as will least disturb the functioning of this Protocol.

The EU triggered the Article apparently to give strength to its export ban of vaccines to Britain.

It obviously had some ridiculous idea that EU-based factories would ship the vaccine produced to Ireland, which would then see trucks full of vaccines heading north across the ‘open’ border (under the Protocol) and then put on boats and sent to London for British use.

Brussels didn’t consult the Irish government in its decision nor other EU Member States apparently.

But given the sensitivity of the North Ireland situation in the years leading up to the agreement and all the hype that was made about a hard border destroying the – Good Friday Agreementone would have thought that any invocation of Article 16 in the case of the border between the two ‘Irelands’ would have to be based on something massive and be the result of extensive research and consultation.

The fact that the EU takes longer than is always reasonable to reach any agreement when it matters (like the stimulus package) but in this case just trumped up a ridiculous, unilateral decision is amazing in itself.

It tells me that the current EU administration is in chaos and not up to the job.

After a massive pushback from within the EU and from outside, the Commission backed off.

It issued a statement – Commission statement on the vaccine export authorisation scheme (January 29, 2021) – withdrawing the triggering of Article 16.

Embarrassment all round.

But it calls into question the judgement of the Commission bosses and their understanding of the Irish question and its willingness to use Northern Ireland as a pawn in its pathetic global supremacy games.

I note also that the British government is also now imposing export controls on medicines which is a typical consequence of this sort of ‘nationalism’.


(1) I will write more about developments in the EU in the coming days.

(2) But I think the recent behaviour renders any claims that being part of the Union should be a progressive ambition.

(3) I have regularly said that there are some issues that are of such a scale that an organisation like the EU makes sense. Such issues as human rights, refugees and immigration, rule of law, climate change and global health issues.

(4) When I say that I consider the pan-national arrangements should be of the form of inter-governmental agreements rather than treaties locking out Member State discretion to enter and leave according to the political will of the citizens.

(5) But it seems that the EU cannot even manage global health issues, which goes with its disastrous immigration policies, to demonstrate its unsuitability as an on-going construct.


Parekatu goiko artikulua ondoko honekin: Eskoziako independentziaz (Kairin Van Sweeden)

Ez ahazteko ondoko liburua: Eurozone Dystopia

1 Gogoratu, berriz, Kuba-ren kasu eredugarria: Kubatar guztiek uda aurretik hartuko dute txerto nazional eta publikoa.

Iruzkinak (1)

  • joseba

    Txerto ikerketa eta gehigarriak

    Bill Mitchell-en Vaccine study suggests boosters will be required sooner rather than later

    (i) Sarrera gisa

    It is Wednesday and so just a few points today. I obviously like data as it tells me a lot about the world and often forces me to alter my views on things. While I mostly analyse economic and financial data, which is my professional skill, I also like to investigate other data sets on things that interest me. Today, I am looking into the vaccine question, which has been playing on my mind lately as the Australian political class, under pressure from all sorts of business lobby groups who fund their election campaigns, have been ‘opening up’ the economy (states and territories) despite high case numbers in some jurisdictions and despite relatively low vaccination rates. They have come up with a ‘Roadmap’ to ‘living with Covid’ (which will see many people die from Covid) and defined key thresholds in terms of average vaccination rates. The problem is the these thresholds are not very scientific at all and their semblance of ‘safety’ points is an illusion. In effect, the political class has abandoned their pretence to following health advice and are just going for it. It is a difficult period in our history.

    (ii) Zenbait txerto analisi
    Some Vaccine Analysis
    Last week, the NSW State Government run by free marketeers ‘opened’ the economy up after weeks of lockdown due to a severe virus outbreak, which resulted from initial incompetence by the same government.
    It touted that NSW had reached the celebrated ’70 per cent double dose’ threshold, that the so-called ‘National Plan’ had deemed the point when we “live with the virus”.
    The next threshold is ’80 per cent double dose’ which will see almost all restrictions lifted.
    The politicians have been touting these thresholds for months now as if they represent a safe passage out of the health risks of the virus.
    The thresholds are a farce.
    To safely achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, a substantial proportion of a population would need to be vaccinated, lowering the overall amount of virus able to spread in the whole population.
    The World Health Organisation advises that (Source):
    Attempts to reach ‘herd immunity’ through exposing people to a virus are scientifically problematic and unethical. Letting COVID-19 spread through populations, of any age or health status will lead to unnecessary infections, suffering and death … We are still learning about immunity to COVID-19. Most people who are infected with COVID-19 develop an immune response within the first few weeks, but we don’t know how strong or lasting that immune response is, or how it differs for different people.
    They know that to achieve safe levels of immunity for polio requires 80 per cent of the population to be vaccinated, but, for measles, the figure rises to 95 per cent.
    But, they admit that “The proportion of the population that must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to begin inducing herd immunity is not known.”
    So it would be better to find out before adopting the “exposing people to a virus” approach becomes the norm.
    Unfortunately in Australia the latter option is what the conservatives are now pushing on us. Even progressive state governments are being forced to follow the ‘live with Covid’ mantra because the spillover from the ‘freedom’ state (NSW) became difficult for other states to prevent without draconian border rules, which cannot be maintained indefinitely.
    And then you think about what the 70 and 80 per cent above 16 years threshold rules actually amount to.
    I did some calculations.
    This graph covers the states/territories and Australia and shows the proportion of the Total populations in each jurisdiction that will be covered when the two thresholds: 70 per cent 16+ double-dosed, and, 80 per cent 16+ double-dosed, is achieved

    So for the nation as a whole, when the first opening up at 70 per cent double-dose for 16 years and above is achieved, the nation is only 53.7 per cent vaccinated.
    And at 80 per cent 16+, the figure becomes just 61.4 per cent.
    Both thresholds are below any sensible measure of ‘herd’ immunity.
    At present, no-one below 12 years is being vaccinated as if the young children don’t catch and spread the virus.
    I may be proven wrong and case numbers might drop significantly as the thresholds are passed.
    But we have only the UK to observe and note that they are now heading back into escalating numbers and strains on the hospital system.
    There has also been extreme pressure on citizens to truncate the period between the first and second innoculation injections despite the scientific evidence that this reduces the effectiveness of the vaccination markedly in some cases.
    Many people are getting their second dose of AZ, the already inferior vaccine, after just 4 weeks, despite the scientists saying that maximum effectiveness comes if the doses are at least 12 weeks apart.
    There are two reasons for this:
    1. People have been scared by the daily press conferences and the berating from the politicians.
    2. The politicians knew they could fabricate a ‘safe’ opening if they came up with these threshold vaccination targets and then hurried everybody into achieving them.
    Forget the science.
    Every day the politicians have been out on TV talking about the ‘Roadmap’ (to freedom) and telling us that if one had not received a double dose then they would be denied freedoms etc.
    Society has been segmented into those without the double and those with.
    So people who were sick of lockdown were given a massive incentive to join those with (double dose) by truncating the time period between the doses.
    The politicians could then look like they were giving us back our freedoms because we were all dutifully reaching these fabricated ‘safety’ thresholds.
    The problem is that now we have millions of Australians wandering around free – going to bars, parties, homes, schools etc – thinking they are fully vaccinated, when, in fact, their double dose is inferior and the antibodies will wane quickly.
    The rush to do this was also pushed by the Federal government to cover up the fact that they had no ordered enough vaccine in the first place (they penny pinched on Pfizer who pushed the nation down the queue) and so the actual program of innoculation was delayed by some months as they scrambled to get more doses.
    And that made the closed border issues more stark because it was simply unacceptable to ‘open up’ with low vaccination rates.
    The fact that none of the journalists are pursuing this point surprises me.
    I read a recent study done by the Public Health England researchers – Vaccine effectiveness and duration of protection of Comirnaty, Vaxzevria and Spikevax against mild and severe COVID-19 in the UK – which uses data compiled after 9 months of vaccine used in the UK.
    Their study seeks to “estimate vaccine effectiveness over time since the second dose of Comirnaty, Vaxzevria and Spikevax in England.”
    The results are interesting and highlight why we should be both careful in opening up while not falling into the short-termism of truncating the second dose interval.
    1. “Vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease peaked in the early weeks after the second dose and then fell to 47.3 (95% CI 45 to 49.6) and 69.7 (95% CI 68.7 to 70.5) by 20+ weeks against the Delta variant for Vaxzevria and Comirnaty, respectively.”
    2. “Waning of vaccine effectiveness was greater for 65+ year-olds compared to 40 to 64 year-olds.”
    3. “Vaccine effectiveness fell less against hospitalisations to 77.0 (70.3 to 82.3) and 92.7 (90.3 to 94.6) beyond 20 weeks post-vaccination and 78.7 (95% CI 52.7 to 90.4) and 90.4 (95% CI 85.1 to 93.8) against death for Vaxzevria and Comirnaty, respectively.”
    Here are some graphs I produced from the data provided in the Study.
    The first one shows the effectiveness against Delta symptomatic disease from Weeks 2-9 after the second dose to 20+ weeks for Astra and Pfizer. The shaded areas are the 95 per cent confidence intervals, whereas the lines indicate the mean estimate from the regression models.
    So the CIs indicate that we can be 95 per cent sure that the true result lies within the range. It also means, for example, that we are indifferent between that level of confidence between, say, Astra Zeneca being 52.7 per cent effective against Delta death after 20+ weeks and 78.7 per cent effective.
    The points to observe are:
    1. A fairly rapid waning in effectiveness in both vaccines.
    2. After 20+ weeks, a person who has followed the Astra Zeneca routine is less than 50 per cent protected against symptomatic illness from Covid. For Pfizer, the drop is to 69.7 per cent effective.

    The next graph shows the effectiveness against Delta hospitalisations from Weeks 2-9 after the second dose to 20+ weeks for Astra and Pfizer.
    The points to observe are:
    1. Even though the effectiveness against disease wanes substantially, the chances of ending up in hospital decline less.
    2. Both vaccines are very effective in this regard.
    3. The authors write:
    Our study provides evidence of significant waning against symptomatic disease but limited waning against severe disease over a period of at least 5 after administration of second doses in a programme with an extended interval between first and second doses. Waning appeared to be greater in older age groups and among individuals in clinical risk groups, suggesting that these individuals should be prioritised for booster doses.

    The final graph one shows the effectiveness against Delta deaths from Weeks 2-9 after the second dose to 20+ weeks for Astra and Pfizer.
    The points to observe are:
    1. Anyone who has taken AZ has an almost 50-50 chance of dying after 20+ weeks of receiving the second dose if they get sick. That is not a very ‘safe’ position to be in.

    The study also found that truncating the period between doses significantly reduced the effectiveness of the vaccines, other things equal.
    For example, for Pfizer, the effectiveness from symptomatic disease dropped from over 60 per cent to less than 40 per cent in people aged 80+ after 25+ weeks after second dose (the intervals were large and overlapping though).
    The main message from the study, is that we cannot conclude that we are safe after two doses of either vaccine and booster shots will be necessary to increase the longer-term effectiveness as the 2-dose effectiveness wanes after 20+ weeks.
    Of course, with the first world looking after themselves and allowing the companies to maintain patents, the idea that the advanced nations should be boosting while the poorer nations are enduring such low levels of first round vaccinations is somewhat difficult to cope with.
    The reality is that billions of doses are necessary to be distributed everywhere as a matter of priority.
    (Australiar bilioi bat = mila milioi europar)

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