The Development Committee of the European Parliament held an exchange of views on the Ebola crisis. Although the situation on the ground has evolved broadly in the right direction, the recent trends of week-to-week increases of cases in Sierra Leone and Guinea have put Ebola back in the focus of the general public and the European Institutions.
"The most recent trends are a serious warning that the gains from all the hard work and commitment by the Member States and the EU, in particular the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection Service and EU Ebola Coordinator Commissioner Stylianides, could still be reversed. As Commissioner Stylianides emphasised at the conference, we should not relax until we "get to zero Ebola cases", said Davor Ivo Stier MEP, the EPP Group Spokesman in the Development Committee.
The Ebola epidemic has been fuelled by poverty, weak health systems as well as weak and political governance systems.
The EPP Group asks for a revision of the 11th European Development Fund in order to make sure that investments in health and good governance are priorities for development financing, not only when it comes to Ebola-affected countries, but also other weak and vulnerable states with fragile public structures.
Furthermore, the EPP Group believes that it is crucial to continue the increased efforts in research and development of a vaccine for Ebola. The European Commission mobilised €24.4m last year for emergency Ebola research and the Innovative Medicines Initiative has launched a call for €215m.
"For many years, very little has been done in terms of Ebola research. The international community, including the European Commission, stepped up efforts in the midst of the epidemic. Since it takes time for vaccines and cures to be researched, produced, tested, and approved, it is necessary to be ready before another potential crisis arises. Getting to zero cases means winning the battle against Ebola. We need to aim towards winning the war and thus we appeal to the European Commission to increase efforts when it comes to Ebola vaccine research and development so we are armed with more than isolation if a similar epidemic occurs in the future", concluded Stier.