The European Union on Saturday urged U.S. President Donald Trump to rethink his decision to cut American funding for the World Health Organization amid global criticism of the move, as spiking infection rates in India and elsewhere served as a reminder the global pandemic is far from contained.
Trump on Friday charged that the WHO didn’t respond adequately to the pandemic, accusing the U.N. agency of being under China’s “total control.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday urged Trump to reconsider, saying that “actions that weaken international results must be avoided” and that “now is the time for enhanced cooperation and common solutions.”
“The WHO needs to continue being able to lead the international response to pandemics, current and future,” she said as reported by AP. “For this, the participation and support of all is required and very much needed.”
The U.S. is the largest source of financial support for the WHO, and its exit is expected to significantly weaken the organization. Trump said the U.S. would be “redirecting” the money to “other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs,” without providing specifics.
The WHO wouldn’t comment on the announcement but South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize called it an “unfortunate” turn of events.