Europeans, like many others across the world, hoped for a better and happier year in 2021 – after seemingly endless months of Covid illness, deaths and pandemic-linked economic misery.
But so far, so annus horribilis for the EU. On a number of Covid fronts.
The bloc’s by now infamous vaccination procurement scheme – trumpeting the securing of up to 2.6 billion doses – has so far failed to deliver. EU countries lag significantly behind Israel, the UK and the US in getting jabs into arms.
A number of EU members have stumbled nationally, too, with heavily criticised roll-outs of the vaccines they did manage to obtain, in Germany, Belgium, Bulgaria and beyond.
And all the while the virus continues its deadly spread.
On Friday, Italy’s Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, and Germany’s respected Robert Koch institute for infectious diseases confirmed their respective countries were experiencing a third wave of the pandemic. Covid restrictions in Italy will be tightened from Monday, with a national lockdown planned for Easter Weekend.
Countries in Central and Eastern Europe, proud of their health record during the first Covid wave, are now suffering terribly.