France’s ex-health minister slams slow EU response to coronavirus crisis

Former French Health minister Agnès Buzyn | Bertrand Guay/AFP via Getty Images

France’s ex-health minister slams slow EU response to coronavirus crisis

Agnès Buzyn stands by her handling of the crisis but points fingers at counterparts.


7/1/20, 7:23 AM CET

Updated 7/1/20, 2:12 PM CET

PARIS — Agnès Buzyn faced three hours of harsh criticism in the French parliament — then she formulated some of her own.

Grilled by lawmakers in a high-profile parliamentary inquiry Tuesday, France’s former health minister defended her track record in managing the early stages of the coronavirus crisis in her country. She also pointed fingers at her European counterparts and EU institutions for what she said was a failure to fully grasp the seriousness of the crisis quickly enough.

“I can’t let it be said that we didn’t anticipate,” she said referring to the French government’s early response, pushing back against lawmakers who questioned her on things ranging from low levels of stock for protective equipment to testing policy.

Going through a great number of details about her policies and decision-making, Buzyn said she tried to raise the alarm early on with other European ministers.

Some countries, Buzyn said, did not “see the point” and did not have “the same perception of the level of concern as [she] did,” she added.

The former health minister was asked for more details about how France had destroyed a large number of expired masks in 2018 but failed to reconstitute the national stocks.


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