Procedure : 2014/2842(RSP)
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Document selected : B8-0126/2014

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PV 18/09/2014 - 10.5
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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0107/2014

to wind up the debate on the statements by the Council and the Commission

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the EU response to the Ebola outbreak (2014/2842(RSP))

Davor Ivo Stier, Peter Liese, Giovanni La Via, Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Gabrielius Landsbergis, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Françoise Grossetête, Annie Schreijer-Pierik, Philippe Juvin, Cristian Dan Preda, Mariya Gabriel, Francesc Gambús on behalf of the PPE Group

B8‑0126/2014 European Parliament resolution on the EU response to the Ebola outbreak (2014/2842(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaration of 8 August 2014 considering the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern,

–       having regard to the statement by EU Commissioner Borg on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa of 8 August 2014,

–       having regard to the United Nations system-wide coordination meeting convened on 13 August 2014 by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in response to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the hot zone of disease transmission being the area where the borders of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone intersect,

–       having regard to the European Union Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on the Ebola crisis in West Africa of 15 August 2014,

–       having regard to the WHO Ebola Response Roadmap issued on 28 August 2014,

–       having regard to the UN Special Briefing on Ebola of 2 September 2014 by Dr Joanne Liu, International President of Médecins Sans Frontières,

–       having regard to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s international rescue call of 5 September 2014 to mobilise the United Nations in every possible way to respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa,

–       having regard to the WHO announcement of 5 September 2014 that experts taking part in a two-day discussion on potential Ebola therapies and vaccines had identified several therapeutic and vaccine interventions that should be the focus of priority clinical evaluation at this time, including two promising Ebola vaccines,

–       having regard to the confirmation of President Barack Obama of 7 September 2014 that the United States would help coordinate a global effort to contain the West African Ebola epidemic prior to involving the US military, including setting up isolation units, delivering equipment, and providing security for a global force of public health workers,

–       having regard to the call by Médecins Sans Frontières of 10 September 2014 for international military mobilisation, as the West African Ebola epidemic has become a national and global security threat, with the entire region facing not only a health crisis, but also a humanitarian and security crisis,

–       having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.     whereas the current Ebola outbreak affecting the West Africa region (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and most recently Senegal), which began in December 2013, is the worst ever outbreak of the epidemic;

B.     whereas WHO reported that as of 6 September 2014, 4 269 cases and 2 288 deaths have been reported as a result of the current outbreak of the Ebola virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone; whereas in Nigeria, there have been 21 cases and 8 deaths, and in Senegal, one case has been confirmed;

C.     whereas, on 9 September 2014, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Karin Landgren, briefed the UN Security Council on the spread of Ebola in Liberia, stressing that the speed and scale of the loss of lives, and the economic, social, political and security reverberations of the crisis, are affecting Liberia profoundly, with at least 2 070 documented cases, which include at least 160 health workers;

D.     whereas most health workers perform their duties without proper protective equipment, training or pay; whereas local funeral rites that involve touching and washing the dead, along with a tradition of caring for sick relatives and friends, are contributing to the virus’s spread;

E.     whereas according to the UN Health Agency, standard measures, such as early detection and isolation of cases, contact tracing and monitoring, and rigorous procedures for infection control, have stopped previous Ebola outbreaks, including those in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Gabon, and could do so again;

F.     whereas the enormous task of addressing Ebola has revealed persistent and profound institutional weaknesses, including in the security sector, and contributes to economic uncertainty;

G.     whereas a 12-member ethics panel convened by WHO in August 2014 announced that it is ethical to treat Ebola patients with experimental drugs to counter the largest, most severe and most complex outbreak of the Ebola virus in history;

H.     whereas in early August, health workers Nancy Writebol and Kent Brantly were flown to the US for treatment after they became infected; whereas both were released from hospital after being treated with an experimental serum called ZMapp;

I.      whereas on 8 August 2014, the African Union established ASEOWA, a mission to fight Ebola for an initial period of 6 months, with its headquarters in Liberia and a minimum of 100 staff in order to coordinate national and international operations, liaise with humanitarian actors, provide medical support and assist local authorities in consolidating control over the epidemic; whereas the EU announced that it would provide EUR 5 million in support to the African Union’s mission established on 8 August 2014;

J.      whereas on 10 September 2014, nearly USD 4 million was officially approved for the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) to support operations in West Africa; whereas the funding will assist the World Food Programme, which runs UNHAS, in transporting humanitarian personnel, medical supplies and equipment, and other essential humanitarian cargo rapidly and efficiently to multiple remote locations within Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone;

K.     whereas so far, humanitarian partners have received USD 7.6 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in support of their initial response to the Ebola outbreak in four countries, including emergency health care and food assistance: Guinea (USD 2.7 million), Liberia (USD 1.9 million), Nigeria (USD 1.5 million) and Sierra Leone (USD 1.5 million);

L.     whereas the European Commission has been scaling up its response to the epidemic since March 2014; whereas on 5 September 2014 the Commission announced an additional package of EUR 140 million of funding for the countries currently affected by the Ebola virus in West Africa: Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria;

M.    whereas the EU deployed humanitarian experts to the region, monitoring the situation and liaising with partner organisations and local authorities; whereas several European specialist teams from the European Mobile Laboratory project for dangerous infectious diseases have been dispatched to Guinea, Nigeria and Liberia, with mobile laboratories to support viral haemorrhagic fever diagnostics, rapid analyses of samples and confirmation of cases;

N.     whereas Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will convene leaders gathering in New York for the upcoming high-level segment of this year’s United Nations General Assembly to highlight the urgent needs and required response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa;

1.      Is deeply concerned about the outbreak of the Ebola virus affecting several countries in West Africa, and especially the continued worsening of the illness, and in some cases its resurgence, even in places where it was brought under control; stresses that the EU needs to continuously support our African partners and cooperate with them closely in fighting this deadly disease;

2.      Stresses that this is the most severe outbreak ever recorded, having already taken more than two thousand lives;

3.      Expresses its sincere condolences to the African governments and peoples affected by the outbreak; takes note of the recent decision by the WHO to declare the Ebola outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, and calls for the EU’s solidarity and support for the countries concerned, as well as for the health workers and international organisations combating the disease;

4.      Warns that the Ebola crisis has become complex, with political, security, economic and social implications that will continue to affect the region well beyond the current medical emergency;

5.      Stresses that the Ebola outbreak poses a global security challenge, and is not only a West African problem but rather a problem on a global scale;

6.      Calls on the international community to make every effort to speed up and develop effective and safe therapies to fight Ebola; shares, however, the opinion of the WHO that investigation of these therapies should not detract attention from the implementation of effective clinical care, rigorous infection prevention and control, careful contact tracing and follow-up, effective risk communication and social mobilisation, all of which are crucial for ending disease outbreaks;

7.      Underlines that successful Ebola response requires steady governance, as the lack of confidence, as shown in the case of the Liberian Government’s incapacity to address the crisis, has contributed to calls from the diaspora for an organised transition from the present government; calls for international support to ensure that Liberia continues on the path towards long-term peace and prosperity, and to ensure respect for the rule of law and protection of civilians, as well as effective public communication and other confidence-building measures;

8.      Welcomes in this respect discussions on how the UN peacekeeping efforts can further support the fight against Ebola in Liberia; stresses that those should include providing security for health workers and facilities, as well as logistical support for essential health facilities and equipment;

9.      Calls upon the Commission to intensify the efforts and coordinate actions with the United States and other international partners to combat the Ebola virus outbreak;

10.    Welcomes the EU’s financial support to the African Union’s ASEOWA mission to fight Ebola, and stresses that the EU must support the African authorities of the affected countries in the implementation of emergency mechanisms;

11.    Welcomes the commitment of a total of EUR 140 million through several EU programmes and additional help from Member States as part of the EU’s contribution to a strong, coordinated international response;

12.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the governments and parliaments of the African Union, and the World Health Organisation.

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