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During the EU consultations in Luxembourg on Monday (October 20), the focus was on tackling the Ebola epidemic. Foreign Minister Steinmeier had already advocated coordinated action by the EU in advance.In the EU there was agreement on the need for coordination at EU level and the pooling of capacities. The Council conclusions also take up the idea of the German Foreign Minister for the establishment of a pool of experts of "white helmets".
"It is a brimming agenda" that awaited the Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg that morning, emphasized Minister Steinmeier at the start of the EU deliberations. At their meeting in Luxembourg, the EU counterparts focused primarily on the Ebola crisis around the world. They also adopted council conclusions on the conflicts in the Middle East, the fight against ISIS and the Ukraine crisis.
Ebola threatens entire structures and states
The foreign ministers discussed in detail how to counter the Ebola epidemic. This threatens the West African states of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia in particular. So far, more than 4,500 people in the region have died from the virus. In the Council Conclusions, the Foreign Ministers also express their deep appreciation for the helpers on the ground and reaffirm their readiness to support them.
At the start of the deliberations, Foreign Minister Steinmeier made it clear that the Ebola epidemic was about more than a “human tragedy”: “This epidemic threatens entire structures and entire states to collapse,” warned the minister.
Steinmeier emphasized in Luxembourg that a coordinated approach within the EU would now be required in order to counter the epidemic: “We were certainly not prepared worldwide for this epidemic with this dynamic. It is all the more important that we now make up for what we have missed. ”On Monday there was an agreement in the EU group on the need for coordination at EU level and the pooling of capacities.
For a coordinated approach and bundled capacities of the EU
At the opening of the “World Health Summit” at the Foreign Office in Berlin on Sunday evening (October 19), Steinmeier also called for “new forms of international cooperation” in the event of “cross-border health threats”. You can find the entire speech by Foreign Minister Steinmeier here.
Steinmeier had also suggested learning now from experience in dealing with the Ebola epidemic: The crisis has shown how important it is to build a "pool" of medical and logistical experts that can be activated in the event of a crisis. In an article for the daily newspaper "Bild" (October 20), Foreign Minister Steinmeier also underlined that this group of "White Helmets" should in future help "nip dangerous epidemics in the bud". You can read the article here.
The Council conclusions of the EU foreign ministers take up the idea of the German foreign minister for the establishment of a pool of experts of "white helmets". In addition, the discussions of the EU foreign ministers also addressed the question of creating a European coordinator in the fight against the Ebola epidemic: At the end of the meeting, Foreign Minister Steinmeier emphasized that the EU needs someone who can bring the measures together quickly and meet the needs steer towards help.
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