The European Commission has urged the United States to ‘reconsider’ its decision to break ties with the World Health Organization (WHO).
In a statement on Saturday, President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen and High Representative Josep Borrell said that “now is the time for enhanced cooperation and common solutions.”
On Friday, US President Donald Trump announced that the United States will be “terminating its relationship” with the World Health Organization. Speaking at a press conference in the White House Rose Garden, Mr Trump claimed that China had “total control” over the WHO and that the US will now redirect funds to other organizations, including US universities.
The US is the biggest single contributor to the Geneva-based organization, paying in around $450m.
Mr Trump has become increasingly critical of the WHO, which has played a key role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic which has so far led to over 105,000 deaths in the United States alone.
The European Union has confirmed its continued support for the World Health Organization. A statement from the European Commission on Saturday read;
“As the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the main task for everyone is to save lives and contain and mitigate this pandemic. The European Union continues to support the WHO in this regard and has already provided additional funding.”
The statement said that there are ‘lessons to be learnt’ from the pandemic, adding that WHO Member States agreed earlier this month to initiate an impartial and independent review of lessons learnt from the international response to the pandemic at the earliest appropriate moment.
The EU Commission has though called on the US to reconsider its decision, which comes at a time where many countries remain in forms of lockdown and large numbers of people are still contracting and dying from the COVID-19 Coronavirus. The statement added;
“Global cooperation and solidarity through multilateral efforts are the only effective and viable avenues to win this battle the world is facing. The WHO needs to continue being able to lead the international response to pandemics, current and future. For this, the participation and support of all is required and very much needed. In the face of this global threat, now is the time for enhanced cooperation and common solutions. Actions that weaken international results must be avoided. In this context, we urge the US to reconsider its announced decision.”
Worldwide, there have now been over 6 million confirmed cases of the Coronavirus and over 367 thousand confirmed deaths related to the pandemic.
Photo: President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen and High Representative Josep Borrell earlier this year at the EU-Western Balkans Informal Meeting | Photo Credit: European Union