News that the US has severed all ties with the World Health Organization (WHO) was met with criticism in Berlin, which called on the global body to reform in order to stay afloat. It also urged the EU to fill the funding void.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn took to Twitter on Saturday, lamenting what he called “a disappointing backlash for International Health.” He called upon the WHO to change if it is to make “any difference for the future.”
Berlin, whose turn to lead the European Union comes in July, will help the health body keep its head above water, Spahn assured: “And the EU must take a leading role and engage more financially. That’s one of our priorities for our EU presidency.”
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
While the evasive message didn’t name names, it marked a slight nod to US President Donald Trump who announced the termination of the US’ relationship with the WHO the day prior.
In a speech largely devoted to castigating China, Trump said the organization failed to make “major substantive improvements” and is now “totally” controlled by Beijing.
On May 19, the US president penned a letter to the WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warning he would permanently cut funding if the UN agency does not address those “improvements” within 30 days. His Friday announcement came only ten days after voicing the ultimatum.
Trump has repeatedly bashed the WHO’s response to the Covid-19 epidemic, claiming it favored Beijing. China, on its part, envisioned the threats as an attempt to smear its fight against Covid-19 and shift the blame for the mishandling of the epidemic on US soil.
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