LUXEMBOURG- European foreign ministers gather in Luxembourg Monday to try and formalize a joint EU response to combat the Ebola virus amid diplomatic warnings the crisis has reached a “tipping point”.
The ministers will meet hours after it was announced that a Spanish nurse who was the first person outside Africa to be infected had tested negative for the virus.
Ahead of the talks, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the bloc should consider sending “a civilian EU mission” to west Africa.
“This would offer a platform to (EU) member states” to send medical staff to the region, he said at a health forum in Berlin.
One EU diplomat said Britain — which already has a navy ship bound for Sierra Leone laden with medical staff and supplies — hoped to “galvanise EU action on Ebola”.
“There is a real sense that this is a tipping point and we must get to grips with it now,” said the diplomat. “If we can deal with it in the country, we don’t have to deal with it at home.”
Another diplomat said there are plans for three nations to spearhead global aid to the worst-hit countries: the United States for Liberia, Britain for Sierra Leone and France for Guinea.
A global UN appeal for nearly $1 billion (785 billion euros) has so far fallen short, with only $385.9 million given by governments and agencies, and a further $225.8 million promised.