Germany has spoken out strongly against U.S President Donald Trump’s decision to sever ties with the World Health Organization, describing the action as “disappointing”.
Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn hinted the European Union will take a stronger interest in the reforming of WHO. This could mean that the US will no longer have the “final say” in most WHO decisions.
Spahns, in a tweet interpreted into English, French and German, urged WHO to look into reforms in it’s system, saying that the EU must take a “leading role” and “engage more financially”.
“That’s a disappointing backlash for International Health. If @WHO shall make any difference for the future it needs reform. And the EU must take a leading role and engage more financially. That’s one of our @BMG priorities for our EU presidency. #EU2020BMG”.
Background: Trump’s Angst Against WHO is Linked To China.
President Trump has recently been heavy on the World Health Organization’s trail, accusing the body of kowtowing to China and covering up said country’s tracks.
The United States President went as far as accusing the World Health Organization as effectively controlled by Beijing.
Trump alleged that the Chinese government covered up the coronavirus outbreak and instigated “a global pandemic that has cost more than 100,000 American lives and over 1 million lives worldwide.”
As a result, Trump last month temporarily froze U.S funding to the WHO, threatening to make the funding freeze permanent without specifying the exact changes the WHO must make. The U.S has previously contributed over $400 million per year to WHO’s $4.8 billion annual budget, more than any other country.
Trump sent a letter earlier this month to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, threatening to make the funding freeze permanent if the organization did not make unspecified “substantive changes” in the next 30 days. Just 11 days later, Trump claimed the reforms had not been made and the U.S. would withdraw from the organization.
Dr. Tedros, Director-general of the World Health Organization has said no comments will be given from the WHO pertaining to the possible loss of US patronage until Saturday.
He has however reiterated his commitment to a comprehensive and independent evaluation of the WHO’s response to COVID19, and an assessment of the organization’s operations in the first part of 2020 is already public.
When asked about additional, immediate investigations in response to Trump’s allegations at a WHO press briefing, Tedros simply said, “Right now, the most important thing is fighting the fire, saving lives.”
The European Union consists of 27 countries.
The EU countries are:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
The United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union on 31 January 2020.
WHO: The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. It is currently headed by Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The W.H.O. was founded in 1948 as part of the postwar creation of the United Nations and is the world’s premier global health organization
American Public Health Officials Say “No” To Trump’s Move:
The Infectious Diseases Society of America “stands strongly against President Trump’s decision,” said Dr. Thomas M. File, its president.
“We will not succeed against this pandemic, or any future outbreak, unless we stand together, share information and coordinate actions.”
It is not clear whether the president can simply withdraw the United States from the World Health Organization without Congressional approval.
“The president can’t unilaterally withdraw us,” said Lawrence O. Gostin— director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on National & Global Health Law at The Georgetown University Law Center— according to New York Times.
“It’s a nonstarter,” he quipped. “This is literally a whim of one man, without any consultation with Congress, in the middle of the greatest health emergency of our lifetime.”