Other available languages: EL
Brussels, 24 October 2014
Statement by EU Ebola Coordinator and Commissioner-elect Christos Stylianides
Upon his appointment by the European Council as the European Union's Ebola response coordinator, at the initiative of President-Elect Jean-Claude Junker, Christos Stylianides has made the following statement:
"I have been entrusted with an immensely challenging task. The Ebola epidemic, which is ravaging lives and societies in West Africa, is putting the entire international community to the test. We need to act with determination, swiftly and in a coordinated manner to save lives and turn the tide in the fight against Ebola.
In Europe, we are well equipped to stand up to this enormous challenge. We have the knowledge and the assets to make a difference. Our Member States are doing a fantastic job in sending medical personnel and equipment and helping the victims of the disease on the ground. What we also need to do now is to act as one. We must use all the tools at our disposal in a concerted manner: what the EU has to offer and what the Member States can bring to the table.
As European Union – Member States and Commission – we have to date mobilized over 600 million euros to fight the epidemic. We have sent medical and humanitarian experts to the affected countries, and deployed mobile laboratories. We are getting vital supplies shipped to the region. We are supporting local authorities and reinforcing national health infrastructures. And we have set up a system for the evacuation of medical workers from the region.
We have also been acting to protect European citizens, in close cooperation with the health authorities of the Member States.
We now need to shift into high gear and make sure these elements work as a common European response.
As EU Coordinator, I will draw on the European Commission's Emergency Response Coordination Centre. It will act as a clearing house for transport, equipment and medical personnel, and bring together all those in Europe – Member States and EU institutions – who are working on the fight against Ebola.
I intend to travel to the affected region early November. This will allow me to better assess the needs and gaps in our efforts and help decide our next steps. I will work closely with our Member States, with my colleagues in the Commission and the European External Action Service. And I will make sure our response is joined up with our international partners and the UN. An advance team of senior EU experts is being deployed to the region already this weekend."