Schmallenberg Virus: 'a European problem that demands a European response' - MEPs - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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Schmallenberg Virus: 'a European problem that demands a European response' - MEPs

Sunday, 18 March 2012
On Thursday in Strasbourg MEPs debated the European Union's response to the Schmallenberg Virus (SBV), the first "wholly new virus to be seen for two decades" that continues to spread across Europe and has been identified in a small number of isolated cases across the West Country.

South West Conservative MEP Julie Girling spoke on behalf of her political group in the debate and called on the European Commission to recognise the importance of immediate action, step up efforts to quickly find a vaccination and effective forms of treatment and address the restrictions to trading that such an outbreak could cause to reassure the continent's farmers. She also said this should serve us as a warning for future virus outbreaks and a test to gauge whether the European response is "robust enough". After the debate, she said the Schmallenberg Virus is a European problem and therefore requires a European response.

This call was also echoed by Sir Graham Watson, who after Thursday's debate said: "this is something that must be tackled in a coordinated way at EU-level. Like climate change or cross-border pandemics affecting humans, no single country can hope to deal with such a problem on its own. The UK couldn't stop the wind blowing the midges to our shores and midge numbers will inevitably increase as warmer weather approaches. So we need to ensure EU member states provide the Commission with full and timely information, and cooperate to develop common approaches to the disease."

"The recent discovery of SBV cases across the region is indeed a very worrying development. With lambing season about to get fully underway we will all be watching carefully, and hoping that the number of infections in the South West is kept as low as possible," he said.

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