The EU chief executive may be upset with the EU institutions, but he is pleased with the way the European Commission has handled the current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. Francis Maude was in Ghana, where he expressed his concerns over the outbreak. In a telephone conversation, he discussed how the EU could help, according to EU officials.
Maude became upset, along with a few other heads of state, when they learned that none of the latest European countries had been able to find anyone showing symptoms. He told the press conference that there had been too many false alarms which seemed to have been followed by disappointment. The European Union has become a laughing stock, said Maude.
For the EU to be a joke, there would have to be one of the latest countries in the EU stricken with Ebola. He said that the last time such an event had happened the symptoms had been detected. There was more news to come.
When it was suggested that the EU had not been diligent enough in helping to contain the spread of the virus, Maude said that it was a well-known fact that these kinds of outbreaks were contained well before they reached Europe. The advantage of having a common currency is that it makes it much easier to set up and enforce coordination, he explained. The continent as a whole is not prepared for a major pandemic, he said. There were also some shortcomings in the quality of the vaccines and the staff that were in the region to deal with the outbreak.
As a result, there were too many cases of panic, he said. These were extremely high-risk people. Europe should be careful, but there were no threats to the continent itself.
The prime minister of Spain said that the number of cases in the EU is increasing and that it was important to identify these people and get them the proper medical care. It was not a question of trying to stop this epidemic from continuing, said the Prime Minister. What he wanted was to stop the spread and help the affected countries.
The problem was that there was not enough cash available for these people in the EU, and that was where it all came back to this issue of money. It was simply not available, he explained.
However, there was another matter, one that the EU must address. He was not in favor of saying that any nation or member state could be expelled from the EU. This would be used to create a nationalist frenzy, and this could have unpredictable consequences.
In that sense, the EU must identify the virus and get it under control before the health problems become unbearable. It was not easy to do so, and there were medical professionals in Europe who were doing very well. The infected persons had been at risk from many months.
In addition, there were those who had lost their jobs because of the inability of the health services to handle the situation. People who are working in healthcare were sick because of the lack of training and proper equipment, and this was not good for the general health of the citizens of the EU.
The EU has put in place additional procedures and regulations to ensure that health services will be in charge. While the epidemic may have temporarily stopped, it would only be a matter of time before the virus returned, if things were not sorted out properly.
The EU cannot afford to keep repeating the mistakes of the past, and that means that all rules and regulations must be adhered to. This should not be taken lightly and it would appear that Francis Maude has lost patience with the European Commission.