by Peter Franklin
Thursday, 2
December 2021
Reaction
07:00

Ursula Von der Leyen pushes for compulsory vaccination

The EU has no power to implement, let alone enforce, such a policy
by Peter Franklin
Jab time! Credit: Getty

In remarks reported by Bloomberg, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has raised the prospect of compulsory Covid vaccinations in the EU.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday she said “I think it is understandable and appropriate to lead this discussion now — how we can encourage and potentially think about mandatory vaccination within the European Union.”

To be clear, neither the Commission nor any other EU body has the power to enforce such a policy. The relevant policy areas are still under national control. Nevertheless, Von der Leyen wants a “common approach” and thinks that this is a discussion that “has to be led” (by her, presumably). 

Several EU member states are already moving towards vaccine mandates. Austria has already had a lockdown policy for the unvaccinated, and will introduce mandatory vaccination in the New Year. The incoming German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, is planning compulsory vaccinations in his country. The Greek government is introducing €100 monthly fines on unvaccinated over-60-year-olds. Other national governments may spot an opportunity to pass the buck to Brussels. 

Von der Leyen is therefore pushing at an open door. Nevertheless, this would be a truly terrible policy for Europe. Even if an element of compulsion is justified at a national level (a very big “if”), the EU lacks the democratic legitimacy to lead on such a sensitive matter. 

Control over one’s own body is among the most fundamental of freedoms. The idea that a discussion about its removal should be led by an unelected official is an outrage. The elected leaders of Europe should remind Von der Leyen of her place — not to mention her performance the last time she was put in charge of vaccine policy.   

Aside from issues of personal autonomy, an EU-wide vaccine mandate makes no sense. While some EU countries have low vaccination and immunity rates, others do not. The idea that the citizens of one nation should be forcibly jabbed to deal with another’s problem takes Euro-federalism to a new and sinister level. 

What would a Vax Europaea mean for us in Britain? As a non-member we wouldn’t be bound by an EU-wide mandate, but it would probably mean further restrictions on EU travel for unvaccinated Britons. Still, at least we can comfort ourselves with the thought that if anyone forces a needle into our arms, it would be our own government.

Join the discussion


To join the discussion, get the free daily email and read more articles like this, sign up.

It's simple, quick and free.

Sign me up
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
36 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
8 months ago

If only everyone was as fair minded as the typical Unherd reader, judging by these insightful comments.

I can understand why some people, particularly those who are vunerable, want to be vaccinated. It makes good sense.

I can also understand people who don’t want to be vaccinated, particularly as this is an unproven experimental medical process that has never been used successfully before.

The arrogance and borderline dictatorial stance of some EU politicians, does make me glad we are no longer under their rule. Unfortunately, I think we have just as many despicable wannabe dictators in the UK.

I wonder how the people wanting to force vaccinate others would feel if the ‘antivaxxers’ proposed an outright ban on vaccines. Such a stance seems ludicrous, non-sensical and dictatorial. Surely people have a right to choose which medical treatment they want.

Live and let live I say and respect other people’s right to do what they feel is right for them.

Last edited 8 months ago by Paul Smithson
A Spetzari
A Spetzari
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

Stoppit. Too rational and reasonable. I shall be reporting you.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

If only it were so simple. Yes, everyone has a right to refuse vaccination. However, we don’t have a right to infect others with a potentially fatal disease. The unvaccinated are more likely to catch the disease and pass it on, so they should stay home and avoid putting other people at risk..

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
8 months ago

Coming up to the first anniversary of Brexit – happy days.
The over-reach from Brussels will never diminish.
I believe that any new area would laughably be referred to as an EU “competence”
You couldn’t make it up 🙂

Last edited 8 months ago by Ian Barton
Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
8 months ago

I voted Remain- kids in business in EU; development of Eastern buffer vs Putin. Since then though I’ve changed my mind, especially as to the failings of Schengen and the aggressive hypocrisy of the French.

John Vaccaro
John Vaccaro
8 months ago

VdL is clearly delusional in even considering this policy. I agree with the sentiments in this article with one exception: “Even if an element of compulsion is justified at a national level, the EU lacks the democratic legitimacy to lead on such a sensitive matter“. There is no justification for compulsion regarding these Covid vaccines nationally or otherwise. Compulsion will tear society apart through the compliance methods introduced to underpin it i.e. vaccine passports, restricted access to public spaces, no jab-no job policies etc. This is more than a health issue; I believe it drives at the heart and soul of who we are as people and I can’t bear to see the freedoms we took for granted tossed aside so readily.

Last edited 8 months ago by John Vaccaro
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
8 months ago
Reply to  John Vaccaro

I take your point, but suppose the virus we’re talking about were Ebola, rather than CV19. Would you still be opposed to mandatory vaccination then? If not, the rationale can only be that vaccination against Ebola’s justified because the disease is worse than CV19. Leaving aside the question of whether that will always be true, the wider point, surely, is that in refusing vaccination, you amplify its risk for other people for whom CV19 is pretty dangerous, because you’re prepared to chance it.

C Spencer
C Spencer
8 months ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

The vaccines do not stop transmission, the vaccinated spread the virus just as much as the unvaccinated…

rodney foy
rodney foy
8 months ago
Reply to  C Spencer

For me, Jon wasn’t addressing the issue of the effectiveness of CV19 vaccines. I think he was engaging in a rather brilliant thought experiment, to address whether a sufficiently dangerous disease would make mandatory vaccinations morally justified

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

And this discussion should then include whether the vaccine is sterilising or not and whether the vaccine is potentially harmful or not.
Also Ebola is not airborne, but Covid is.

Last edited 8 months ago by Lesley van Reenen
Martin Smith
Martin Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  rodney foy

.

Last edited 8 months ago by Martin Smith
Michael Askew
Michael Askew
8 months ago
Reply to  C Spencer

No they don’t. The evidence is that vaccination reduces the chances of catching the disease, reduces its severity and reduces transmission if you do get infected,

Michael O'Donnell
Michael O'Donnell
8 months ago
Reply to  C Spencer

Not strictly true. Vaccines don’t eliminate the spread but they do reduce it.

Iris C
Iris C
8 months ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

I should have included Ebola in my original submission. It is really deadly and there is no stopping its spread throughout the area. If it came to the UK, we would all want to be vaccinated against it – if that were possible.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago
Reply to  Iris C

Ebola stops its own spread because it kills its host so quickly.

Mark White
Mark White
8 months ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

If we were talking about Ebola, I’d be surprised if there were more than a handful of people who’d refuse a vax. But it’s not Ebola or even close to it

John Lee
John Lee
8 months ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Well it’snot Ebola so a whole different set of conditions apply.

Patrick Fox
Patrick Fox
8 months ago

To me what is at stake here is not so much whether one is for or against vaccines or whether vaccines are efficient or not or should be made mandatory or not.What is at stake here (for the poor souls like me who are still in the EU) is the risk that some of my what ever remaining fundamental rights such as liberty of choice concerning my person are given to an unelected ideological bureaucracy which ends up restricting my freedom of movement, rights to be a full member of society and makes me an outcast.

I am well aware that at present the UK government and others are not doing better but at least you can reject them by elections when the time comes.

If the EU does so I do not even have a recourse to the European Court of Human Rights (what ever I think of it I ‘d make use of it ).The EU who was obligated by the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 to join the European Convention of Human Rights has still not done so based on a 2014 decision of the ECJ, the latter making sure by creative legal interpretations that its mantra well known to the British in the frame of Brexit “only the ECJ is competent to interpret EU law” is protected at all cost since if they joined the Convention the judgements of the ECJ would be susceptible to review by the European Court of Human Rights that is simply unthinkable for them . This is a clear demonstration of the contempt of the EU Institutions for its Member States and for the treaty provisions the latter established and which do not suit the EU’s doctrine of “ever closer integration”.

I am sorry to say to the author that based on my past professional experience in engaging with the EU Commission on a nearly daily basis for 20 years, VDL may well end up having the power to implement and enforce her proposed policy. I will try to briefly explain the reason why I cannot exclude this possibility since very few people even with a fair knowledge of EU law are aware of the EU’s favourite « cunning plans » when it comes to power grabbing. (Sorry if I sound pompous)

The approach of von der Leyen ( VDL) is not unfamiliar. It is a well proven typical Commission competence grabbing scheme known as “   Competence by stealth ” or “competence creep” by which the Commission when tabling a proposal makes it an EU initiative in the said area of the proposal which de facto and based on a well established case law of the ECJ in favour of the Commission restricts if not forbids the Member States to act in this area based notably on the “principle of sincere cooperation” under Article 4.3 TEU the area at stake has thus become an EU competence, the trap is closed on the Member States who are prevented from any further action in this area even if in this Commission ’s proposal the EU’s competences are not clear cut or absent provided that this initiative inscribes itself under the fallacious pretext of the infamous “ever closer integration”provision of the Treaty.
In any case the Commission and the ECJ ( by means of its extensive « implied powers » case law) find a way to link a topic which is not under their competence to one which is and the trick is done. The protection of the single market being the best Trojan horse of the EU to penetrate domains where it has none or little competences and this since everything, as I was once told by EU officials, can be, with a little pinch of legal lateral creative thinking and approximation, linked in one way or the other to the market. Where there is a will there is a way!!!

So if the representatives of EU member states and their advisers, (who, from my experience, are more than often completely oblivious to the legal intricacies and traps set in the treaties and by the case law of the ECJ) entertain VDL’ s proposal to discuss the matter at stake, we are as good as dead . I will therefore have to legally emigrate outside the EU ( perhaps the UK) or if not at least to Poland or Hungary and join their resistance even if my name is not René and in any case their are not many Renés left in France to fight the EU ( I apologise to those who have taken the time and made the effort to read and who are not familiar with the series “Allo Allo”)

Last edited 8 months ago by Patrick Fox
John Hicks
John Hicks
8 months ago
Reply to  Patrick Fox

Thank you Patrick. I hope you or your colleagues write further about competence creep and the principle of sincere co-operation. Pretending such subjective concepts have anything to do with well accepted legal principles or the actual Rule of Law is insulting and dangerous. Exposing these developing legal definitions cannot happen soon enough. Certainly before the next retiring leader spouts on about her/his vision of an EU bound by the Rule of Law. We know of Equity, Impartiality; of Electoral Accountability and Fairness. More significantly we accept a Rule of Law that we know and understand. Seems the EU elite and attendant Bureaucrats have their own ideas about another kind of Rule of Law. Suggests that those who may consider buying into the EU:- caveat emptor.

Patrick Fox
Patrick Fox
8 months ago
Reply to  John Hicks

Thank you John I will try when ever the opportunity arises, as I just wanted to give a simple explanation without getting into too much legal technicalities .One aspect I forgot to mention is that of the ECJ « implied powers case law » which allows the EU by means of an extreme interpretation to act in areas where they do not have competence but where if the States acted or did not act could impact EU law or what they call “ acquis communautaire”. Hence the EU gets the right to act unilaterally in areas where it has no competences in order to achieve the purposes set by the Treaties and as such the EU can also make use of Article 4.3 TEU on the duty of sincere cooperation when need be in case the Commission considered that the States acted against the interests of the objectives set in the Treaties . I slightly modified my comment to insert that implied powers. Implied
powers is a normal aspect of the law of international organisations but the ECJ in combination with the duty of sincere cooperation has developed it for the EU’s benefit in proportions that are just unreal. In fact the use by the Commission and interpretation by the ECJ of this Article 4.3 TEU destroyed any attempts made by the Member States at the time of the Lisbon treaties negotiations to contain the competences of the EU to those listed in the provisions of the treaties. As I said very few politicians realise the impact of some provisions of the treaty and the case law of the ECJ on their sovereignty especially in the field of international relations, international organisations and treaty making, Article 4.3 has thus probably become the major article of the Treaties needing serious revision together with the provisions on the ECJ’ powers the latter having been the spear head of further integration by stealth since the 1960 by means of its interpretation of the treaties . For information the sincere cooperation also goes for the EU who should act in good faith towards Member States but I have never personally seen it going that way so far.

Last edited 8 months ago by Patrick Fox
John Hicks
John Hicks
8 months ago
Reply to  Patrick Fox

You have much work ahead, Patrick; but I am grateful you have made a start on exposing these trends to those of us retired laymen still clinging to foundation principles of a rapidly disappearing Rule of Law. Students and under-grads must get their teeth into these provisions. ECJ and Article 4.3 are probably not sexy enough for the political class. But maybe you and your colleagues can make it so.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
8 months ago
Reply to  John Hicks

He did make it so with his René and ‘Allo ‘Allo reference, I thought. Moreover, he shall say this not only once, but more than once.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
8 months ago

No one takes vdL seriously. The only thing she can reasonably do in this situation is encourage member states to adopt mandatory vaccination…but even if all 27 do, the approaches taken by each member state are likely to diverge significantly (the rules Austria is proposing are, for example, very different to what Greece seems to be dishing up). So there is still going to be a byzantine patchwork of rules and standards across the continent. And my bet is that this regulatory mess will be sold to us as a great achievement of “European unity”….

Last edited 8 months ago by Katharine Eyre
AC Harper
AC Harper
8 months ago

Would we see a ‘Vaccine Passport Control Point between The Irish Republic and Northern Ireland? Despite all the claims about the absence of a hard border being vital to the Friday Agreement?
I suspect that Von der Leyen’s words are another example of technocrats trying to shut the door after the horse has already bolted, and without any thought for the ‘complications’ that would follow.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
8 months ago

I confess to being a vaxxer. In fact, I am a vaxxxer. But never, ever could I envisage forced vaccination. It sounds Dickensian, Oliver Twistian.

Ben Hekster
Ben Hekster
8 months ago

“The EU has no power to implement, let alone enforce, such a policy”

LOL— as if that will stop them

Lena Bloch
Lena Bloch
8 months ago

There should be no talk about human rights, health and the adequacy of the measures. There should be the talk about GLOBAL CORRUPTION. We are all hostages in the global mafia-like corruption. Some of us are hostages of propaganda, others are hostages of unlawful medical experimentation.
Tomasz Goetel:
“We (the Europeans) URGENTLY need to see the correspond-dance of Her Transparency Ursula and Pfizer’s CEO (and the same goes for all exchanges of current heads of European bureaucracies and the heads’ spouses, who may have been “investing” into certain mega-companies’ shares on the stock exchange): correspondence, phone call transcripts, contracts signed, and, of course, not only with Pfizer, but also with the other 2 or 3 “pharmaceutical” “giants”—the very molochs that make $1,000/second, as we read not long ago in the news.
I’m sure that seeing those text messages, agreements, etc. ALONE would make the entire house of cards collapse in a jiffy and result in a swift counter-revolution (I’m saying “counter” because the harm that the bureaucrats together with the techno-scientific complexes have been doing to the European citizens is a revolution!).
It is a crying shame that the European “media” and “opposition” politicians are not taking aim at the release of those aforementioned materials. Actually, I suspect that they are accomplices. When an unprecedented, insane amounts of PUBLIC WEALTH (from national budgets and EU budget) are being transferred into neo-corporate PRIVATE HANDS, there’s plenty monies and power-promises to give away to all accomplices: henchmen, preachers, teachers, doctors, experts, “scientists”, etc.
Frankly, I do NOT know what I can do about all that and I do not know if anyone (any one citizen) can do anything about that. Today’s servants of the Prince of Lies, the corrupt, unethical, deprived, greedy, power-hungry, insecure, narcissist, Messiah-complex-suffering rulers, have at their disposal resources that no citizen(s) may be able to contend with. And as long as throwing stones at the police or torching their empty car is a “despicable riot”, but bombarding protesters with tear gas (or live ammunition, as we saw in Rotterdam) and directing advanced warfare technologies at them is “crowd control”, a European citizen can keep sucking eggs from Netflix.”

Art C
Art C
8 months ago

This is Europe? THIS IS EUROPE? Are they going to send police vans around to pick up unvaccinated people in the early hours? Or cart them off to camps first to undergo their “government procedure” there?

James Stangl
James Stangl
8 months ago
Reply to  Art C

Like Australia?

Robert Pruger
Robert Pruger
8 months ago

An unelected bureaucrat wants to mandate a vaccine approved under emergency authority. Adverse vaccine reactions take several years to know. If (and it’s truly an if at this time) there are more severe problems, how do the people hold MS von Legends accountable?

Last edited 8 months ago by Robert Pruger
Ed Lea
Ed Lea
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Pruger

Which adverse vaccine reactions take years to develop?

Claire Dunnage
Claire Dunnage
8 months ago

Is an EU wide approach needed because of the freedom of movement between countries?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
8 months ago
Reply to  Claire Dunnage

A good question – I suspect that the EU will massively increase Border Control on the edge of the EU as failure to do will kill Schengen dead in its tracks.

Iris C
Iris C
8 months ago

In the past, vaccination was for really deadly diseases – typhoid, cholera, smallpox. These were the vaccines we needed to live to Africa. Besides these endemic diseases, there is malaria with all the debilitating, life-threatening side effects from catching this, which can last a lifetime..
That Covid should be put into these categories is ridiculous. Even most of the elderly don’t catch Covid if they are fit and healthy, eating sensibly and taking daily exercise.
Thank goodness we live in the UK!

Art C
Art C
8 months ago
Reply to  Iris C

What’s even more ridiculous is that an unvaccinated person poses no threat to someone vaccinated. So you have to ask what is the ulterior motive?

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
8 months ago

With 5-15 million known Covid deaths, antivaxxers would rather believe that vaccines are more dangerous than CV-19. Can anyone out there explain this?

Last edited 8 months ago by Michael Askew