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Europe's week: Syria donation shortfall & WHO slams EU vaccine rollout

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Europe's week: Syria donation shortfall & WHO slams EU vaccine rollout
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Brussels hosted the fifth donors' conference for Syria and its neighbors this week, ten years on from the start of a war that has seen hundreds of thousands of people killed and millions displaced.

Despite this fact, the international community failed to meet its target of raising just over €8bn, pledging €5.3bn for 2021 and beyond.

But the European Union was the largest contributor, giving €3.7bn, with Germany being individually the most generous (€1.74bn).

Brussels also reiterated its support for a comprehensive political solution in the country without any foreign influence.

"Syrians must decide the future of Syria. The future of Syria belongs to none of the factions and to none of the outside powers," the EU's foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said on Tuesday.

But these words will ring hollow with embattled Syrians who are desperate for an end to the war, after years of promises and commitments from the international community.

And the humanitarian crisis in the country isn't getting any better.

COVID-19 infection rates are surging and given the lack of accurate information, the true scale is likely even greater.

'Vaccine rollout too slow'

Meanwhile, in Europe, the number of new cases increased for the sixth consecutive week.

And to add to the continent's woes, the World Health Organisation described its vaccine rollout as 'unacceptably slow'.

Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a former vice president of the European Commission also said that getting people inoculated needs to be sped up.

"Right now, the most important priorities remain to accelerate vaccinations during the health crisis and to make sure support is not withdrawn prematurely," the IMF chief told Euronews.

In France, the situation isn't getting much better either, as the government imposed another full national lockdown, the third since the beginning of the pandemic.

"The measures that have been implemented in 19 of our departments under tightened restrictions will be extended to the whole territory of metropolitan France as early as Saturday evening, for four weeks," French President Emmanuel Macron said