Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Opinion
Martin Ivens

Boris Johnson Has Played a Blinder on the EU Vaccine Spat

A sweetly reasonable prime minister is a more formidable opponent for Europe. 

The first shot in any vaccine war won’t be fired in London.

The first shot in any vaccine war won’t be fired in London.

Photographer: WPA Pool/Getty Images Europe

A blustering prime minister and a rule-breaking U.K. government present few problems for the European Commission. It has long experience of dealing with troublemakers on the fringes of Europe. A sweetly reasonable Boris Johnson, however, is a more formidable opponent. He should try making nice more often.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is under fire across the continent, especially in her native Germany, for the slow rollout of Europe’s vaccine program. She would have welcomed the distraction of a spat with the Brits this week. But Johnson tried hard not to give her the satisfaction. The first shot in any vaccine war won’t be fired from London.