The void in global leadership to tackle the Novel Coronavirus and its pandemic disease, COVID-19, has finally been filled by the European Union (EU), minus Donald Trump.
Announced last Friday by the European Commission (EC) and initiated earlier today by the Brussels, Belgium, headquartered pact, the EU and other nations have launched a virtual fundraising summit to raise $8 billion to develop vaccines and treatments to fight COVID-19. And donors intend to ensure equal distribution of their results.
In launching the global leadership project, EC President Ursula von der Leyen, according to a CNN report, proclaimed: "I believe the fourth of May will mark a turning point in our fight against coronavirus because today, the world in coming together."
The global fight against COVID-19 event, co-hosted by the EC, the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Japan and Saudi Arabia, was launched today and involved some 40 countries. Before the virtual summit started, the EU, France, Germany, Italy and Norway, published a letter in newspapers across Europe in support of the new leadership initiative.
As reported by the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the letter signing nations and pact declared: "Together we have to ensure that resources will continue to be mobilized and that progress will be made to achieve universal access to vaccination, treatment and testing." They added: "We are determined to work together, with all those who share our commitment to international cooperation. We are ready to lead and support the global response" (to COVID-19).
Thus far, the leadership group has witnessed pledges of $1 billion each from both the EU and Norway. France, Germany and Saudi Arabia have pledged $500 million each and the UK has pledged $338 million.
As worldwide COVID-19 infections surpass 3.5 million and with deaths approaching 250,000 people, noticeably missing from today's EU-leadership summit was the United States (US), well, really Donald Trump, for if any other person was president of the US at this time, he/she certainly by now, would have already taken the lead on fighting the pandemic, or would have surely joined today's summit. China's Ambassador to the EU joined the summit, but as yet, there's been no mention of any pledge from China. Update: China just pledged $50 million to the global fight. And Canada has pledged $550 million.
With regards to Trump's isolationist tendencies and absence from the global leadership action, Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg, fittingly remarked: "It is a pity the US is not a part of it. When you are in a crisis. you manage it and you do it jointly with others."
So global leadership has emerged to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. With the EU at the reins in leading international efforts to pushback against the pesky and deadly disease, their efforts, sadly, underscore the weakening US sphere of influence on the global scale.