Alyn Smith MEP, Scotland’s only Member of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, has praised the European Commission’s decision to use €24.4 million from the EU budget to fund urgently needed Ebola research.
The money will be fast-tracked to ensure work begins as quickly as possible and will cover five areas, including the large-scale clinical trial of a potential vaccine to beat the deadly virus which is thought to have infected more than 20,000 people this year.
Alyn met with Médecins Sans Frontières earlier this month to discuss the Ebola crisis and used his written statement during the Commission’s Response to Ebola Crisis debate on Monday to praise the selfless work of MSF volunteers, including the 16 staff reported as infected with the virus.
“Europe has no shortage of organisations with expertise and people willing to put themselves in harm’s way, but we have lacked the political will to get involved. We need to do so urgently, and provide real support to those organisations already on the ground. In particular we must reassure volunteers that there will be a coordinated EU medevac procedure, and that the operation will be properly financed.
“We have a humanitarian duty to intervene, but we have a selfish motivation too. If we allow Ebola to destroy such governmental authority as exists, we will see hostile regimes take their place.
“The EU has taken a bold step forward in uniting all of Europe in the fight against Ebola.
“The financial aid is crucial but the EU is also fighting the epidemic by coordinating supply delivery, evacuations and work of world-class experts on the ground. Some things transcend nation-state squabbles and I’m proud to be part of an organisation that recognises this.”