The European Union has promised to back the World Health Organisation and multilateral efforts to fight the Coronavirus after US President Donald Trump threatened to quit the global Agency.
The European Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, Virginie Battu-Henriksson, told Reporters that this is the time for solidarity, not the time for finger-pointing or for undermining multilateral cooperation.
The EU has sponsored a motion at Tuesday’s session, May 19, 2020, of the WHO’s annual assembly to urge an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of the international response to the pandemic.
The spokeswoman said: “The European Union backs the WHO in its efforts to contain and mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak and has already provided additional funding to support these efforts.”
Not for the first time, this puts Brussels in opposition to Washington, where Trump has accused the UN Health Agency of being too close to China and of being slow to react to the COVID-19 outbreak.
On Monday, May 18, 2020, the US leader, who has already frozen US funding for the WHO, wrote its Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to lay out the charges and threaten to pull out.
Beijing has furiously denied the US allegations that it played down the threat and Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated at the World Health Assembly that his nation had been “transparent” throughout the crisis.
Brussels is backing an independent inquiry into how the epidemic erupted and spread, but has tried to lead an international, multilateral response to the crisis and raise funds for vaccine research.