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European Commission

[Check Against Delivery]

José Manuel Durão Barroso

President of the European Commission

President Barroso joins Obama and Ban Ki Moon in the fight against Ebola and announces additional 30 million euros for humanitarian aid

High-level meeting on Response to the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak

New York, 25 September 2014

Ladies and gentlemen,

An unprecedented Ebola epidemic is hitting countries, villages and families in West Africa. As we meet today in New York, thousands are struggling to continue living while coping with the fear of infection or of losing loved ones. My thoughts are with these people.

I also want to pay tribute to all the dedicated local and international healthcare workers who from the start have mobilised to treat thousands of people. They risk their lives to fight the epidemic.

And, they and the local governments are being overwhelmed by the rapid spread of the disease. Massive international support is needed to meet the challenge.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This is not just a serious health problem. It is also a threat to peace, security and development, as the Security Council recognised when it passed SCR 2177. It is also a challenge to the integrity and dignity of many human lives.

As leaders of a globalised world, we have a responsibility to do whatever it takes to protect people. We have a responsibility to ensure a fully coordinated international response.

So, I warmly commend UN Secretary-General Ban for hosting this high-level meeting and for having launched the UN Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).

The European Union has mobilised from the very early stages of the crisis and has been contributing to this global effort.

EU funding now stands at almost €150 million. In addition to €11m in emergency support to WHO and MSF, this covers the reinforcement of local and regional healthcare capacities and budget support to the affected countries.

The European Union has also pledged €5 million to the joint public health / military and civilian mission (ASEOWA) that the African Union is deploying. And our Member States have also considerably increased their assistance.

But the scale of needs is too important. We need all to step up our efforts. This is why I announce today that the European Commission will contribute with an additional 30 million euros package for humanitarian aid to support the continuing efforts.

However, funding is not enough. It is essential that we ensure that humanitarian aid and international assistance reach the areas affected. We need to isolate the disease, not isolate the countries.

Health experts from our humanitarian branch have been deployed. EU mobile laboratories were sent to the region to help with diagnoses and to train laboratory technicians.

We are also putting in place an operational hub to coordinate and facilitate standby air transport for medical evacuation and in-country treatment for the health workers who are trying to stem the disease. We are counting on our Member States to make the necessary air assets available, and stand ready to support these financially.

We have also activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to facilitate the provision of assistance on the ground, to coordinate the deliveries of equipment with our Member States and to liaise with the UN mission just created.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I recently read the testimony of a Belgian national working with "Médecins sans Frontiėres" in Monrovia. He explained that when people recover, they have a small ceremony for patients about to be discharged.

And, he added: "Seeing the staff gather to celebrate this exceptional moment, hearing the words of the discharged patients as they thank us for what we did, gives us all a good reason to be there."

This should also give us all good reason to step up our efforts to tackle this epidemic swiftly and decisively. This is what the people in West Africa and the world at large expect from us. This is what we need to do.

Thank you.

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