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EU pledges €4.9 billion for coronavirus tests, vaccines and treatments at fundraising concert

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a media conference after an EU summit, in video conference format, at the European Council in Brussels, Friday
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a media conference after an EU summit, in video conference format, at the European Council in Brussels, Friday   -   Copyright  Olivier Hoslet, Pool Photo via AP
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EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU would pledge €4.9 billion with the European Investment Bank towards coronavirus tests, treatments and vaccines.

The pledge came as global leaders joined forces with an international line up of artists - including Shakira, Coldplay and Miley Cyrus - for a historic event on Saturday raising money in the fight against COVID-19.

The initiative marked the conclusion of the Global Goal: Unite For Our Future campaign launched by the EU and activist group Global Citizen to fund research for a coronavirus vaccine and help rebuild communities impacted by the pandemic "in a fair and just way".

Getty Images/2020 Global Citizen
The cast of Hamilton and musical group The Roots perform during the Global Goal: Unite For Our Future - Summit & Concert on June 27.Getty Images/2020 Global Citizen

The concert kicked off at 8pm CET and was live-streamed across the world and co-hosted by von der Leyen and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

The concert was preceded by a global pledging summit hosted by Ursula von der Leyen, who thanked on Saturday all those who contributed raising money for the campaign, stating that some €6.15 billion had been raised.

The EU-led initiative Coronavirus Global Response has already raised almost €10 billion.

International advocates, experts, artists and activists among the likes of Angelique Kidjo, Melinda Gates, Dr. Vin Gupta, Ken Jeong and Kate Upton joined the discussion.

At the beginning of the event, Dwayne Johnson spoke out about racism amid protests fuelled by the death of Black American George Floyd.

"As we were doing our very best to digest the unprecedented hardships that this new [corona]virus had cost, we also continued to witness another ongoing disease that had plagued our word for decades, centuries even: oppression and inequality," he said.

"The tragic case of George Floyd was a flashpoint that changed so much. Those devastating 8 minutes and 46 seconds validated the horrendous systemic racism and civil injustice we know to be present in our current reality".

He was followed by Miley Cyrus, who performed a rendition of Beatles' classic "Help!" in an empty stadium.

The concert also featured Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Justin Bieber and Quavo, J Balvin, Chloe x Halle, Yemi Alade, and Christine and the Queens.

The Global Goal: Unite For Our Future initiative, which has been raising money to develop and deploy coronavirus vaccines, tests and treatment, had already brought together some of the world's most famous celebrities on April 19 for the global live-streamed concert One World: Together At Home.