June 27, 2020 08:25
France and Germany pledged Thursday to contribute more funding to the World Health Organization as it fights the coronavirus pandemic.
The pledges came after WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus met in Geneva with health ministers from the two countries to discuss the pandemic and global responses.
The meeting Thursday coincided with an announcement by WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge of a "very significant resurgence" of coronavirus cases across Europe.
Germany's Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn said Germany intended to give more than $560 million and equipment to WHO this year, as the country assumes the presidency of the European Union. The new support for WHO must first be approved by parliament, according to Spahn, who added the government is optimistic that will happen by the beginning of July.
France said it would donate about $100 million to a WHO research center in Lyon as well as make an additional contribution of $56 million.
◆ U.S. Support to End
U.S. President Donald Trump last month announced that the U.S. would "terminate" its relationship with the WHO, which he said was controlled by China. The first cases of COVID-19 were reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.
"The French contribution is not aimed to replace the U.S. contribution," said French Minister for Solidarity and Health Olivier Veran. "The French contribution is there to remind the World Health Organization that it can count on the friendship of the European Union."
"We are getting today all the support we need, politically and financially. Both Germany and France are long-standing friends of WHO and global health," Tedros said at a news conference.
"I offer my profound thanks for France and Germany for your leadership and support," the WHO chief said following the meeting. "We agreed that, now more than ever, the world needs leadership & international cooperation," he tweeted.
WHO depends on membership fees and voluntary contributions from more than 190 member states. In 2019, including assessed and voluntary contributions, the U.S. provided WHO an estimated $419 million, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
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