EU foreign ministers working toward 1 billion-euro ($1.27 billion) fund to fight Ebola

Associated Press

European Union nations are working to reach 1 billion euros ($1.27 billion) in aid by the end of the week to fight Ebola in West Africa and are seeking a common approach to the crisis.

EU foreign ministers began a week of talks Monday so their 28 leaders can agree by Friday on better measures to fight Ebola, anything from financial aid to common repatriation procedures, more Ebola treatment facilities and better training for health workers.

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"We've got a very short window to get on top of it and prevent the uncontrollable spread of the disease," British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said. "We do need this billion-euro fund."

So far, the overall anti-Ebola total for the EU, including EU national contributions, stands now at nearly 500 million euros ($640 million), with Britain contributing 160 million euros ($204 million) and Germany some 100 million euros ($127 million).

The Netherlands also promised to send a frigate to West Africa to help, matching a similar contribution from Britain.

"Money is very important, equipment is very important, staff is very important," said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

The World Health Organization's representative to the EU, Roberto Bertollini, was relieved to hear EU promises of action.

"It's time to act now ... if we want to limit the amount of cases to an amount that is controllable," he said.

In Spain, officials said nursing assistant Teresa Romero now appears to have beaten Ebola but she won't be considered virus-free until she is tested Tuesday for a second time. She was among those treating a Spanish missionary who died of Ebola on Sept. 25.

"The first good news is that the evolution of Teresa Romero is positive," said Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo. "The second is that the 15 others (linked to her) did not present any symptoms."


AP reporters Alan Clendenning contributed from Madrid and Geir Moulson from Berlin


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