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Вторник, 3 юли 2018 г. - Страсбург Редактирана версия

20. Епидемия от ебола в в Демократична република Конго (разискване)
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  Elnök asszony. – A következő napirendi pont a Tanács és a Bizottság nyilatkozatai: Ebolajárvány a Kongói Demokratikus Köztársaságban. (2018/2742(RSP)).

 
  
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  Karoline Edtstadler, President-in-Office of the Council. – Madam President, let me thank you for your invitation to participate in this debate on this important topic today. When a new outbreak of the Ebola virus disease was declared in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on 8 May, the international community was immediately alarmed. The memories of the long struggle to contain the virus in West Africa between 2014 and 2016 are still vivid in our minds. Around 11 000 people fell victim to the disease in three African countries, and the virus also spread to the United States and to Europe.

This time round, it seems the lessons have been learned. The international response was fast, determined and comprehensive. The World Health Organization (WTO) reacted quickly, ensured leadership and coordination, asked for sufficient amounts of funding and initiated a wide range of measures, from medical and psychological care, to awareness raising and prevention. Donors stepped in early, making sure that the USD 57 million Ebola strategic response plan for the DRC was fully funded.

We commend the Commission for releasing EUR 3.43 million in emergency assistance for response to this crisis on behalf of the European Union. We also welcome the fact that the WHO requested the activation of the Union’s civil protection mechanism and we welcome the fact that in 2016 the European Medical Corps was established to strengthen the EU’s capacity to respond to disease outbreaks and health emergencies, both inside and outside the European Union.

Sadly, 29 people have died as a result of the Ebola virus disease in the DRC. We can be cautiously optimistic that the spread of the disease has now been halted. The last new case was confirmed almost a month ago at the beginning of June. I’m particularly relieved that the disease did not spread beyond the three DRC provinces initially affected. It was crucial that the virus could be contained in Mbandaka, a port city of around one million people. But we have to remain on our guard before declaring the end of the outbreak. No new cases must be confirmed during 42 days, twice the Ebola incubation period, counting from the day the last case was confirmed.

So let us hope that the end of July will see a positive outcome. Even so, there will be no time for complacency. Many things worked well this time, such as ring vaccination of more than 3 000 people, which was not available three years ago. But we may be able to do even better. We welcome the fact that the World Health Organization will launch a review shortly, after the end of the outbreak has, hopefully, been declared. One thing is already clear: we must invest more in strengthening resilience in the DRC to respond to future outbreaks of the virus. The country’s health system is ill prepared to cope with challenges of this scale. In that context, we highly appreciate the European Parliament’s October 2015 resolution on the long-term lessons from the previous Ebola crisis and how to strengthen health systems in developing countries to prevent future crises.

We must not forget that the DRC is also facing one of the world’s most complex and long-standing humanitarian crises. Some 13.1 million people in the country are in need of humanitarian assistance; 4.5 million Congolese have been initially displaced and 7.7 million people, or 11% of the population, are food insecure. The European Union and its Member States are at the forefront of the response to these needs, but more must be done.

The Presidency will monitor developments in the DRC closely. We will put the humanitarian situation, as well as the Ebola outbreak, back on the agenda again if necessary to enable the Member States and the Commission closely to coordinate their response. Neither Africa nor Europe, nor indeed the world, can afford another Ebola epidemic.

 
  
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  Christos Stylianides, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, I would like to welcome the Austrian Presidency and to thank the Minister for her comments about this demanding field of the Ebola outbreak, and for her kind words about our engagement in tackling it.

From the very beginning, the European Union has mobilised its resources to assist the international response to the new Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We have taken urgent action to help manage and contain the spread of the virus. Personally, as EU Ebola Coordinator, I have been monitoring the situation closely from day one, in direct contact and coordination with the new Director of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Gebreyesus (that’s a difficult Ethiopian surname!). Eight weeks later, the WHO has stated that the Ebola outbreak has been ‘largely contained’ and that it sees the situation with ‘cautious optimism’.

We won this fight because this time we were ready. We had developed our ‘weapons’. EU-funded research against Ebola has continued. We co-funded vaccines and diagnostics that were quickly deployed in the field at times when Ebola was not making the headlines. Because the truth is that we learned our lessons from the Ebola outbreak in 2014 in West Africa. I saw with my own eyes in November 2014 the situation in Sierra Leone, in Guinea and in Liberia and I can compare the situation at that time with the new outbreak in Congo.

We should always be prepared for the worst. We should never be complacent – I completely agree with you on that, Minister, and I assure you there is no complacency when Ebola breaks out.

The recent outbreak has not turned into an enormous epidemic because of the immediate, coordinated and efficient international intervention. It was a rapid and robust response. Our team in the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) is following developments 24/7. Since the start of the outbreak, we have been working closely with the WHO, the Congolese authorities and our international partners. Our efforts focused initially on helping to get medical teams, equipment and supplies to the affected zones. In addition, we have supported the coordination of the response and the distribution of necessary information for the local communities. That is a very important activity.

At the same time, all available EU emergency response instruments have been mobilised. Firstly, as the Minister already said, the Commission has provided EUR 3.5 million in humanitarian aid, primarily to the WHO, the Red Cross, the International Organization for Migration and UNICEF, and we have focused on coordination and logistical support for the Ebola response.

Secondly, our assistance supports primarily life-saving intervention, including with our own European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department humanitarian air service, ECHO Flight; infection prevention and control; water, sanitation and hygiene measures; behaviour advocacy; and, of course, safe burials. We know from the previous outbreak that burials are one of the most influential factors in the spread of the virus. We also support the surveillance of exit and entry points of Ebola-affected areas. This is another key measure to avoid the spread of the virus.

Thirdly, the European Union also provides, in kind, logistical support through ECHO Flight, which regularly transports personnel, supplies and equipment from Kinshasa to the affected areas.

Fourthly, our European Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) has come into play. The World Health Organization made a request for assistance, requesting emergency medical teams. Norway, through our mechanism, offered isolation transport shuttles to bring patients safely to treatment centres, medical personnel were deployed, and the Commission covers 85% of the transport costs.

Fifthly, in terms of field expertise and deployments, the Commission’s regional humanitarian office in Kinshasa is fully mobilised. Extra staff have been deployed, including medical specialists and logisticians. More staff remain on standby.

Sixth is monitoring and coordination. The Emergency Response Coordination Centre is coordinating with Member States and other Commission and EU services and agencies, such as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the humanitarian field office in Kinshasa and international partners.

The seventh aspect is satellite mapping. Copernicus is a well known, excellent and sophisticated mapping system. Copernicus Emergency Management Service has provided satellite maps of affected areas in order to support field deployments.

I will continue to follow the situation on the ground closely. We will also look into lessons learned from this experience. So far, fortunately, because of our coordinated action, we have avoided the worst-case scenario. At the same time, we stand ready to provide any further assistance if needed. Our actions are a clear demonstration of EU solidarity with the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

We will continue to stand by the Congolese people until this Ebola outbreak is over. In conclusion, once again I have to say that there is no complacency when Ebola breaks out.

 
  
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  Bogdan Brunon Wenta, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Madam President, let me start by applauding the swift reaction of international players, including the European Union, to this outbreak. This is the ninth epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the past four decades. I am glad to see there has been significant progress since the last one, in May 2017, and that the recommendations from Parliament’s last resolution on Ebola were taken into consideration.

The number of potentially infected persons requiring follow-up has gradually decreased and by the end of June all of them had ceased to need mandatory monitoring. Nevertheless, because of the disease’s serious nature and the complexity of the geographical area in which it occurs, and therefore the lack of complete data, the risk to public health, both at national and regional level, remains high.

For this reason the EU should continue to provide assistance through infection prevention control and support for health centres, as well as entry/exit point monitoring for the affected areas. The EU has also funded the largest research effort on the vaccine against Ebola and this is an initiative worth scaling up. From the regional perspective, it is important that the countries exposed to the possibility of an outbreak should take action on Ebola readiness and have emergency response plans in place, and that cooperation in this very important area be enhanced.

 
  
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  Maria Arena, au nom du groupe S&D. – Madame la Présidente, depuis 1976, la République démocratique du Congo (RDC) a connu différentes attaques du virus Ebola, qui ont été plus ou moins gérées avec des pics de contamination dans les années 70, mais beaucoup moins aujourd’hui. On compte au total un millier de morts au cours des différentes vagues de contamination en 40 ans.

Le 17 mai, après le cas identifié à Mbandaka, ville d’un million d’habitants, l’alerte a été donnée à nouveau, et l’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS) a directement réagi en lançant une campagne de vaccination expérimentale sur les populations à haut risque, ainsi que des campagnes d’information et d’isolement. Aujourd’hui, l’OMS ainsi que le gouvernement en RDC reconnaissent que l’épidémie est contenue.

Sur cette base, j’ai demandé d’élargir notre débat de ce soir à la situation générale en République démocratique du Congo. Si le virus Ebola, depuis 1976, a tué un millier de Congolais, la guerre dans ce pays, depuis 1994, a tué plus de six millions de Congolais, déplacé des milliers d’entre eux qui vivent encore aujourd’hui dans des camps, mutilé et violé des jeunes filles.

Si la RDC est capable d’arrêter le virus Ebola, elle n’a manifestement pas la volonté ni la capacité de protéger ses populations. C’est la raison pour laquelle j’ai demandé une discussion plus large sur la situation de ce pays à la veille d’un processus électoral et où tout pousse à croire que le désordre est organisé par le gouvernement.

Je m’en réfère au discours de M. Mugwebe, prix Sakharov de cette assemblée, pour qui les élections ne seront pas crédibles. Selon lui, encore, le peuple congolais vit dans un esclavage moderne, un gouvernement du ventre et du sang qui n’a aucun projet ni aucune vision.

Vivre, travailler, manger à sa faim, être libre sont des droits dans un pays aussi riche que la RDC. Pourtant, massacres, viols, destructions massives d’habitats est le lot quotidien de cette population.

Toutes les institutions en RDC sont aujourd’hui illégitimes, qu’il s’agisse de l’assemblée provinciale, de l’assemblée nationale, du Sénat, de la présidence, et cela ne semble émouvoir personne – même ici dans cette assemblée – car ceux-là devront organiser les élections soi-disant en toute indépendance.

Alors, oui, le virus Ebola nous inquiète, mais je dirais que la situation générale du Congo devrait nous inquiéter davantage.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Madam President, last week, barely two months after it had begun, the WHO described, to our great relief, that the Congo’s latest Ebola epidemic is largely contained. The rapid eradication of this bout of Ebola is indeed remarkable. The Congolese authorities and the international health community deserve much praise for their impressive move to contain the outbreak, leaving it far from the international health disaster that was seen back in 2013 as the West Africa Ebola crisis.

While I applaud the success of the response, I am also aware of concerns that Kinshasa—imposed emergency measures implemented to contain the viral epidemic might be misused to further restrict the rights and freedoms of the Congolese people, in what can already only be described as a generally very repressive political environment. Looking ahead, I therefore urge the Congolese authorities to remain responsible and transparent in their use of emergency public—health measures responding to the outbreak. It would indeed be a great shame if such a fast and remarkable crisis response were abused by the government’s use of emergency powers ahead of democratic elections.

 
  
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  Charles Goerens, au nom du groupe ALDE. – Madame la Présidente, je crois que nous allons tous à peu près dire la même chose sur la crise d’Ebola. Même si c’est redondant, il faut le dire. Je crois qu’il faut mettre à l’actif de notre assemblée d’avoir alerté à temps, en 2014, les autorités de l’OMS, de la Commission et de nos États membres sur la nécessité d’intervenir rapidement. Cela a été fait. Nous en avons tiré les enseignements. Si à l’époque nous avons tardé à le faire, aujourd’hui nous avons réagi à temps. Si un événement n’est pas mentionné au journal de 20 heures, cela ne veut pas dire que nous avons été inefficaces, au contraire. Le fait que cette épidémie n’ait pas l’ampleur de celle qu’ont connue le Sierra Leone, le Libéria et la Guinée il y a 4 ans, est le résultat de notre effort. Alors soyons fiers de ce que nous avons réussi à accomplir et attaquons-nous aux causes sous-jacentes. Les causes directes ont été traitées, les causes sous-jacentes sont celles de la pauvreté extrême. Je souscris pleinement à ce qu’a dit Mme Arena, je crois que la situation au Congo telle qu’elle vient de la décrire est très pertinente, et il faudra avoir une discussion spécifique sur cette thématique lors d’un autre débat. Remercions aussi la Commission d’avoir tout fait pour que cette épidémie reste dans des limites. Merci donc au commissaire qui s’attaque à ces causes, et je demanderai aussi à son collègue M. Mimica de tout faire pour que l’on s’attaque aux causes sous-jacentes de cette épidémie. Ainsi, les infrastructures de santé doivent être améliorées, pas seulement au Congo, mais partout où cela n’a pas encore été le cas parce que, souvenons-nous, à l’époque, au Sierra Leone, tout le système de santé s’est effondré en moins d’une semaine. Cette fois—ci, cela n’a pas été le cas, car nous en avons tiré des leçons. Soyons donc fiers de ce que nous avons accompli.

 
  
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  Kateřina Konečná, za skupinu GUE/NGL. – Paní předsedající, od vypuknutí poslední velké epidemie viru Ebola v západní Africe v roce 2014 jsme absolvovali ještě epidemii viru zika a dalších několik méně závažných nákaz. Vypadalo to, že současná situace v Kongu se nedá srovnávat s tím, co jsme zažili na začátku mandátu. A jsem ráda, že jak mezinárodní organizace, tak i Evropská unie si z předchozích zkušeností vzaly ponaučení.

Zatím se počty jak nakažených, tak i mrtvých pohybují v desítkách a nemoc je udržena v rámci jednoho státu. Minule jsme se pohybovali v tisícovkách a ohrožena byla i Evropa. Velmi vítám rozhodnutí WHO dodat zemi nové experimentální vakcíny. Taktéž Evropská komise přijala balíček naléhavé humanitární pomoci, evropský lékařský sbor je nachystán pomoci přímo na místě a agentura ECDC situaci monitoruje a poskytuje všem zainteresovaným orgánům aktualizace ohledně situace.

Samozřejmě stále hrozí přenos nákazy do dalších státu, nicméně věřme našim ochranným mechanizmům. Poučili jsme se, nastavili jsme je a já pevně věřím, že po všech předchozích krizích se toto v další krizi prostě nevyvine.

 
  
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  Piernicola Pedicini, a nome del gruppo EFDD. – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, signor Commissario, io vorrei far notare che la Repubblica Democratica del Congo ha dichiarato questa nuova epidemia, con 55 casi per adesso e 29 decessi, quindi tutt'altro che trascurabile, già dall'8 maggio di quest'anno.

Tralasciamo quindi il fatto che io ho chiesto personalmente un dibattito urgente già dalla scorsa plenaria – ma, evidentemente, se la richiesta parte da un populista non vale neanche la pena di essere considerata. Fatto sta che abbiamo perso un mese.

Io non sottovaluterei la questione, come probabilmente si sta facendo qui, perché il problema è che ci sono più epicentri situati nelle aree rurali remote ma vicine al fiume Congo che, come sapete, alimenta sia la Repubblica Centrafricana che la Repubblica del Congo; quindi, il rischio di diffusione rapida della malattia è altissimo.

Eppure, secondo l'Organizzazione mondiale della Sanità esiste un vaccino, lo ZEBOV, che ha un'efficacia del 100% e che deve essere usato prima di ogni altro in caso di emergenza.

Commissario, ci può spiegare perché si aspetta lo scoppio di un'epidemia prima di procedere con la vaccinazione ad anello? Ci può spiegare perché un vaccino definito sicuro e con il 100% di efficacia non viene distribuito adesso?

 
  
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  Joachim Zeller (PPE). – Frau Präsidentin, Herr Kommissar, Frau Ministerin! Im Mai wurde die Weltöffentlichkeit von der Meldung aufgeschreckt, dass im Nordosten der Demokratischen Republik Kongo, im Gebiet der Millionenstadt Mbandaka, Fälle von Ebola aufgetreten seien und Menschen bereits am Ebola-Virus gestorben seien. Dass es augenscheinlich nicht zu der Katastrophe kam wie in den Jahren 2014 und 2015 in Westafrika, scheint daran gelegen zu haben, dass schnell internationale Hilfe einsetzte und aus der Epidemie von vor drei Jahren Lehren gezogen wurden.

Trotzdem bleibt der Kampf gegen Ebola eine Herausforderung. Der bislang entwickelte Impfstoff ist sehr teuer, lässt sich nur schwierig lagern und wirkt lediglich präventiv. Die örtlichen Gegebenheiten in der Demokratischen Republik Kongo machen das Erreichen der Menschen außerhalb der Großstädte sehr schwierig. Außerdem begegnen die Menschen dort ausländischen Organisationen mit Misstrauen, manche unterstellen sogar, dass diese mit der Seuche nur viel Geld verdienen wollen.

Trotzdem: Die Gefahr einer Ebola-Epidemie wirft ein weiteres Schlaglicht auf die desaströse politische und soziale Situation in der Demokratischen Republik Kongo, die dringend einer Lösung bedarf. Ansonsten drohen auch weiterhin Seuchen.

 
  
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  Cécile Kashetu Kyenge (S&D). – Madame la Présidente, Monsieur le Commissaire, le retour du virus Ebola en République démocratique du Congo (RDC) est venu conforter la sensation de fatalité qui pèse sur le pays comme une véritable épée de Damoclès.

Nous en avons assez d’égrener le chapelet des maux qui rongent la RDC et y préfigurent une suite apocalyptique.

N’eût été le secours de l’OMS, nous aurions compté plusieurs victimes de l’épidémie, en raison de l’intervention tardive des autorités sanitaires.

Le retour du virus Ebola est le signe d’une piètre politique de prévention, indice de la défaillance de l’État congolais. Les maux qui minent la RDC sont d’origine politique, comme nous l’ont rappelé les citoyens républicains et patriotes que nous avons reçus aujourd’hui. Ils étaient porteurs d’un mémorandum dont nous partageons le contenu. Nous devons les accompagner dans leur lutte pour restaurer l’état de droit en RDC à travers des élections libres et crédibles, sans Kabila, et pour le bien des Congolais.

 
  
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  Ελένη Θεοχάρους (ECR). – Κυρία Πρόεδρε, σίγουρα ως γιατρός που είστε, γνωρίζετε τον όρο «ομοιόσταση». Η λέξη και στα αγγλικά είναι η ίδια, «homeostasis» και εισάγει την έννοια της ισορροπίας των ειδών στη φύση. Πιστεύω ακράδαντα ότι οι ιοί Έμπολα και AIDS υφίστανται ακριβώς γιατί ισχύει η ομοιόσταση. Κι αυτό οφείλουμε να το γνωρίζουμε, αν θέλουμε να τους αντιμετωπίσουμε. Πριν τέσσερα χρόνια, η Δυτική Αφρική χτυπήθηκε από επιδημία Έμπολα και η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση βοήθησε σημαντικά, έστω και καθυστερημένα, στην αντιμετώπισή της. Τον περασμένο Μάιο, εκδηλώθηκε νέα επιδημία αιμορραγικού πυρετού στη Λαϊκή Δημοκρατία του Κονγκό. Ο αιμορραγικός πυρετός είναι ενδημική νόσος στο Κονγκό και φαίνεται ότι πρωτοεκδηλώθηκε στον ποταμό Έμπολα της χώρας αυτής.

Οι πανδημίες αντιμετωπίζονται δραστικά με γρήγορες και επιθετικές ενέργειες. Επειδή στη Δυτική Αφρική αργήσαμε, τώρα πολύ σωστά αντιδράσαμε ακαριαία, γι’ αυτό αποφύγαμε τη διασπορά του ιού. Η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση έδωσε άμεση βοήθεια 1,7 εκατομμυρίων ευρώ στο Κονγκό για εμπειρογνώμονες, προσωπικό έκτακτης ανάγκης και εξοπλισμό. Βεβαίως, ο εκδημοκρατισμός, η αγωγή υγείας, η απρόσκοπτη πρόσβαση σε υπηρεσίες υγείας και η εκπαίδευση είναι θεμελιώδη μέτρα για την αντιμετώπιση θανατηφόρων ιών.

 
  
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  Adam Szejnfeld (PPE). – Pani Przewodnicząca! Poprzednia epidemia eboli dotknęła przede wszystkim państwa Afryki Zachodniej. Była śmiercionośna: życie straciło kilkanaście tysięcy ludzi. W tym momencie warto przypomnieć, że Unia Europejska jest liderem wspierania państw Afryki, także w walce z tą ciężką chorobą. I warto Komisji Europejskiej przy okazji tej debaty podziękować za ogromne zaangażowanie. Jestem przekonany, że negatywne skutki tej epidemii byłyby znacznie większe, gdyby nie wspaniała praca i działalność naszych przedstawicieli w Afryce. Ale trzeba podejmować kolejne działania, nie tylko związane bezpośrednio z walką z tą chorobą – jak na przykład prace nad szczepionką – ale także w zakresie rozwoju edukacji i podnoszenia poziomu służby zdrowia w tych krajach.

 
  
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  Enrique Guerrero Salom (S&D). – Señora presidenta, ojalá que a finales de este mes podamos declarar definitivamente el fin del actual brote de ébola. Si ese es el caso, hay que felicitar a la Unión Europea, a los países vecinos y a las autoridades sobre el terreno por haber aprendido del pasado y por haber actuado rápidamente, proporcionando seguridad y vacunas.

Pero la situación humanitaria en la República Democrática del Congo es alarmante. En octubre del año pasado, las Naciones Unidas declararon la emergencia humanitaria máxima ⸺el nivel 3⸺ para el país por la existencia de dos millones y medio de desplazados y cuatro millones y medio de personas en emergencia alimenticia. El futuro no es prometedor: 18 de las 26 provincias de la República Democrática del Congo están en esta situación de alarma humanitaria. Solo se ha financiado el 17 % de las necesidades.

Tenemos que hacer mucho más y tenemos que tomar la palabra de la representante hoy del Consejo, que reconoce la necesidad de hacer más, y que debe hacer más para aplicarlo a los países de la Unión.

 
  
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  Lukas Mandl (PPE). – Frau Präsidentin, Herr Kommissar Stylianides, Frau Staatssekretärin Karoline Edtstadler, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Wir haben eine neue Ebola-Epidemie in Afrika, und die Europäische Union hat es geschafft, besser zu helfen als in der Vergangenheit. Es wurde mehrfach betont, und das müssen wir auch betonen: Wir brauchen ein Europa, das nach außen stark ist und helfen kann und sich behaupten kann und nach innen frei ist und der Freiheit den Vorzug gibt. Es freut mich daher, dass wir ja erst kürzlich unter der Führung von Kommissar Stylianides hier im Parlament das Katastrophenschutz-Paket so verhandeln konnten, dass wir nach außen stark sind und helfen können und nach innen frei sind und den freiwilligen Katastrophenschutzstrukturen den Vorzug geben.

Wir müssen aber auch mit dem Kongo reden und nicht nur über den Kongo. Wir müssen mit Afrika reden und nicht nur über Afrika. Heute, zum Start der österreichischen Präsidentschaft, hat Kommissionspräsident Jean-Claude Juncker positiv hervorgehoben, dass Sebastian Kurz wie alle starken Reformkräfte in Europa die Zusammenarbeit mit Afrika sucht. Auch Emmanuel Macron tut das, und wir brauchen das.

Afrika wächst. Im Jahr 2050 gibt es zwei Milliarden Menschen, heute eine Milliarde Menschen in Afrika. Es ist wichtig für unsere Zukunft zu helfen, und das geschieht am besten durch wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit.

 
  
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  Elnök asszony. – Kérem, tartsuk be az időt! Csak azért engedtem, hogy tovább beszéljen, mert az tényleg olyan fontos, hogy együtt a kongóiakkal, és nem a kongóiakról. Nagyon fontos üzenet, köszönjük!

 
  
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  Neena Gill (S&D). – Madam President, I welcome the fact that the EU has stepped up again its support to fight Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). However, I believe strongly that the EU needs to broaden its remit and address also the political crisis in the country. We cannot overlook hundreds of people who have been killed in political protests and some 4.5 million people who have been internally displaced as a result of increasing militia activity.

President Kabila’s delaying tactics are holding the DRC’s political transition hostage. The government is asking for more control and management of all aid donations. I think this would be totally unacceptable. Aid groups in the DRC have already expressed their grave concerns about the vital work being prevented.

My questions to the Commissioner are: despite the scale and brutality of the crisis, the DRC has not been able to attract the needed funding from the last donor conference. How do we tackle the donor fatigue? Secondly, what assurances has the EU received that elections will take place by the end of 2018? And thirdly, what is the level of EU coordination with African leaders to move beyond the political stalemate that we have in the DRC?

 
  
 

„Catch the eye” eljárás.

 
  
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  Stanislav Polčák (PPE). – Paní předsedající, skutečně Ebola představuj riziko pro naši budoucnost. Já si myslím, že jsme povinni nepodcenit toto riziko a chovat se skutečně zodpovědně. Pomáhat znamená usilovat o prevenci, ale být také humanitární. To si myslím, že jsou asi dvě základní východiska, kterými bychom se měli řídit. Nicméně tento konkrétní projekt pomoci může mít i své další vedlejší efekty, jako je posílení vzdělanostních kapacit, ten prostor je neustále plný pověr, ti lidé například věří, že pokud se spálí tělo, že duše toho zemřelého již nemůže dojít klidu. Je tam celá řada prostě obav, které musíme právě tím vzděláváním také podpořit, a myslím, že to je jeden z těch dalších vedlejších efektů, který musíme plnit na úkor nebo v úsilí o tu prevenci.

Ale nesmíme zapomenout i na politické problémy, kterými ta krajina prochází. A zastírat oči před tím, jakého konkrétního porušování lidských práv se dopouští tamější režim. To – si myslím –, že bychom měli rovněž řešit.

 
  
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  Julie Ward (S&D). – Madam President, last week it was announced that the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was under control. However, it seems like the situation was never of major concern to the authorities as they have experience and competence in managing Ebola. So let us be clear: Ebola is not the only challenge currently facing the DRC. The deep political crisis in which the country finds itself is much more worrying. The criminalisation of human rights defenders continues, in particular, members of LUCHA and Filimbi.

These attacks on rights activists come after decades of widespread human rights violations right across the country. So ahead of the elections finally due to take place in December, the country is now experiencing increased tension. Parliament should therefore not be distracted and should support all efforts for the elections to take place in a peaceful and democratic manner.

 
  
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  Νότης Μαριάς (ECR). – Κυρία Πρόεδρε, με τη Λαϊκή Δημοκρατία του Κονγκό έχουμε ασχοληθεί πάρα πολλές φορές εδώ σε αυτή την αίθουσα. Όλοι γνωρίζουμε τις αντιδημοκρατικές ενέργειες που κάνει ο πρόεδρος Καμπιλά, ο οποίος αρνείται να λήξει τη θητεία του και την ανανεώνει συνεχώς. Έχουμε ουσιαστικά έναν εμφύλιο πόλεμο, καθώς η αντιπολίτευση δεν ανέχεται τα τερτίπια του Καμπιλά και, φυσικά, δεν ανέχεται τις αντιδημοκρατικές διαδικασίες, δεν ανέχεται τις φυλακίσεις των ακτιβιστών. Επομένως, αυτό είναι ένα σοβαρό θέμα το οποίο παραμένει και στο οποίο πρέπει να επιμείνουμε ως Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση.

Από την πλευρά βέβαια της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης στο θέμα της μη εξάπλωσης της επιδημίας του ιού Έμπολα, νομίζω ότι έχουν γίνει σημαντικές ενέργειες. Ευτυχώς, υπήρξε η δυνατότητα να προλάβει κανείς και να περιορίσει την εξάπλωση του ιού. Νομίζω ότι σε αυτό συνετέλεσε και ο Διεθνής Οργανισμός Υγείας και, φυσικά, τα χρήματα τα οποία δόθηκαν, η δυνατότητα που δόθηκε για άμεσους εμβολιασμούς. Επομένως, στο θέμα του περιορισμού του ιού Έμπολα γίνονται σημαντικές προσπάθειες, πρέπει όμως κάποια στιγμή ο Καμπιλά να φύγει από την εξουσία.

 
  
 

(A „catch the eye” eljárás vége.)

 
  
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  Christos Stylianides, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, I would like to thank colleagues for their contributions. We had a fruitful exchange of views. I once again realise that we all share the same concerns, not only on the Ebola outbreak, but also about the political crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

This is why you remember our efforts in order to proceed with this pledging conference. The European Union and I were co-chairing in order to make this pledging conference for the DRC a reality, regardless of the participation of the Congolese government. The European Union remains very involved in all aspects of the situation on the ground in the DRC.

At the same time, because the current discussions about Ebola, Ebola is a virus we cannot afford to underestimate, and we also agree that we cannot be complacent. Let me repeat once again that we will continue to stand by the people of the DRC until this outbreak is over. This is my personal commitment as Ebola coordinator.

I would like to assure you that we are already looking at what we can learn from this experience, and how we can improve. Prevention, preparedness and response, including research, are all essential elements in tackling this, and any other, outbreak. We know that Ebola might strike again in Africa. As you said, the health-care systems are, unfortunately, so weak. And this is why, under the European and developing countries clinical trials partnership, the European Union has put in place two large networks of preparedness research. Among them there are 30 African partners covering the whole region of sub-Saharan Africa. These networks are building up the capacity of our African partners to better respond to outbreaks such as Ebola or other emerging diseases.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who worked together to contain Ebola, all who cooperated and coordinated in order to respond more effectively and more efficiently to this latest outbreak on the ground. The first responders and the volunteers, the medical personnel and the experts. But also our hard workers in the Commission services and other EU institutions and our Member States. All of them determined to help the people of DRC in this time of need. I want also to underline the good and effective cooperation we had with the World Health Organisation on the ground, but also at the institutional level.

Finally, I want to repeat that we are not letting our guard down. We will continue to monitor closely the situation 24/7. Let us always remember that health emergencies have no borders. No one can face such challenges alone. Only together can we better assist affected populations and protect our citizens, EU citizens. Cooperation and coordination are preconditions for any effective response.

I would like to clarify something about our efforts regarding vaccines. The Commission is funding Ebola vaccine development to the tune of over EUR 160 million. The EU has provided funding for the vaccine which is now being deployed in the DRC. A second vaccine, which is currently being assessed by WHO, has also received EU funding.

So the European Union and global partners are assessing where new research funding is needed for diagnostic treatments and vaccines, as well as ways to better communicate with affected communities and stakeholders to organise the response. I would like to say this as an answer, because I strongly believe that it is better to clarify some things about our efforts in this very demanding research field.

 
  
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  President. – Commissioner Stylianides, thank you very much for your commitment.

I now give the floor to our Minister of EU Affairs in the EU Presidency, Ms Karoline Edtstadler. Thank you very much for being here and for your serious commitment. We are listening to you. The floor is yours.

 
  
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  Karoline Edtstadler, President-in-Office of the Council. – Madam President, Mr Goerens said ‘we all say the same thing’. Nevertheless, or on the contrary, because of this consensus, I would like to thank you for todays’ exchange of views and also for the applause and the congratulations, namely that we learned our lessons and sometimes this is necessary and also pleasant for all the participating institutions, especially for the Member States and the Commission.

I am also with Ms Arena when she says it is clear that the topic remains of crucial importance to both Africa and the EU. Moreover, I fully second what was said during the debate, that many Congolese people have great needs in many regards and that we have to monitor the situation also with regard to the human rights situation, which is quite challenging.

I would also like to stress once more that Member States have supported the World Health Organisation (WTO)-led response and we quick to contribute to the emergency response plan so that it was fully funded by 29 May. As a consequence, the virus didn’t spread to Europe because it was possible to prevent it from spreading, even within the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Not a single suspect case has been reported in the capital, Kinshasa.

As we take over the baton, the Austrian Presidency will ensure continued monitoring of the development of the situation in the DRC. We will provide Member States with all the information they need to step up their response as necessary, in close coordination with the Commission, to make sure that the EU as a whole will remain at the forefront of combating this dangerous disease and prevent another Ebola epidemic.

 
  
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  Elnök asszony. – A vitát lezárom.

Kedves Kollégák! Engedjék meg, hogy két bejelentést tegyek. Mindkettőt angolul fogom.

Írásbeli nyilatkozatok (162. cikk)

 
  
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  Karol Karski (ECR), na piśmie. – Epidemia Eboli w tym roku była już dziewiątą epidemią w Demokratycznej Republice Konga. Mówię była, gdyż wygląda na to, że została powstrzymana na dosyć wczesnym etapie. Tym razem udało uniknąć się powtórzenia hekatomby z lat 2014-2016, kiedy zmarło ponad 11.000 ludzi. Liczba ofiar tym razem zamknie się prawdopodobnie w około 30 osobach. Na szybkie powstrzymanie epidemii miało wpływ kilka czynników, takich jak stosunkowo niski poziom zurbanizowania w regionie, w którym wystąpiła, co ograniczało przenoszenie wirusa. Ale podkreślić trzeba natychmiastową reakcję Światowej Organizacji Zdrowia we współpracy z lokalnymi lekarzami, którzy dysponując szczepionką zorganizowali bardzo szybką akcję szczepienia ludzi narażonych na kontakt z wirusem oraz odizolowania ludzi zarażonych lub podejrzanych o zarażenie. Dzięki temu mówimy dziś o kilkudziesięciu zarażeniach lub podejrzeniach zarażenia. Na ogłoszenie końca epidemii przyjdzie nam jeszcze poczekać kilka tygodni, ale akcja ta pokazała, jak istotna jest skoordynowana akcja zapobiegająca rozprzestrzenianiu się wirusa. Choć trzeba koniecznie podkreślić, że świętować końca eboli nie możemy. Wirus ten może nas jeszcze nie raz zaskoczyć, albo poprzez pojawienie się w nowych miejscach, albo poprzez nowe mutacje. Ale lekcje z tegorocznej epidemii wyciągnąć trzeba w celu wdrożenia skuteczniejszych mechanizmów obrony przed ebolą.

 
Последно осъвременяване: 15 октомври 2018 г.Правна информация