Macron on brink: Voters ‘won’t forget’ French President’s ‘shameful’ vaccine failure

EU 'don't have a plan' for vaccine rollout says expert

And Nicolas Bay, whose National Rally party colleague Marine Le Pen, could well be Mr Macron’s opponent once again next year, also said the European Union was guilty of multiple failures which had slowed down the process across the continent. Mr Macron is under significant pressure domestically as a result of the sluggish pace of the programme to inoculate France’s 67 million citizens.

As of Sunday, barely 500 people had received the jab, with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson pointing out this week more people in Britain had been vaccinated than in the rest of Europe combined.

Mr Bay, who is the right-wing party’s general secretary, told “It is indeed Emmanuel Macron who makes all the decisions, including the most technical and concrete ones, every week in a totally opaque ‘Defence Council’ that takes place at the Elysee Palace.

“It is also Emmanuel Macron who appointed the people in charge of implementing the decisions and renewed his confidence in them despite their many blunders, the consequences of which are only now beginning to emerge – I am thinking in particular of Olivier Veran, Minister of Health.”

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A report published by French newspaper Le Journal de Dimanche suggested Mr Macron was “angry” at the situation, but Mr Bay suggested this was a stage-managed attempt to deflect blame.

He explained: “President Macron’s responsibility is immense.

“That he tries to hide it with this communication complacently relayed by certain major media is all the more shameful.

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“All European countries had hesitations at one time or another. All followed different strategies: none seems to be doing worse than France.

“The French are quite ready to understand exceptional measures and small mistakes in the face of a totally new situation.

“But the government’s failures in are too numerous and reveal too much amateurism for it to get a blank check this time around.”

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Confidence is totally broken. The voters will remember this

Nicolas Bay

Mr Bay added: “The French government has been caught lying, particularly with regard to strategic stocks of masks and protection equipment.

“This new disaster concerning vaccines is unacceptable. Confidence is totally broken. The voters will remember this.”

Turning his attention to the Brussels, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also the subject of considerable criticism.

He said: “Brussels is not the cause of Emmanuel Macron’s failure, as evidenced by the vaccination campaigns underway in other European states.

“But the EU is clearly responsible for some administrative delays.

‘The desire to start vaccination everywhere at the same time has potentially wasted valuable time.

“The EU failed in several ways: firstly, in anticipating the crisis itself when all the signals were given by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

“Brussels also had a share of responsibility in its will to enforce a coordination it was unable to organise.

“Finally, it will have to explain the negotiation of contracts with the laboratories concerning the purchase of vaccines, which was done behind the backs of the people and apparently at a golden price.”

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