European Commission presents “EU vision on global health”

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New proposals from the European Commission aim to give the EU a stronger role in global health.

Central to the plans is helping developing countries meet the health-related UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The Commission hopes to contribute to better global health by building on existing mechanisms such as EU-funded research programmes, eHealth initiatives and environmental standards.

“The EU has an opportunity to combine its leading global roles in trade and in development aid with its commitment to social and environmental progress, to forge a coherent approach to global health,” the Commission says in its Communication on the EU Role in Global Health.

Also proposed is a greater level of support for the implementation of national health strategies, as part of EU development aid programmes.

The plans acknowledge that tackling the challenge of global health must involve work in a range of policy areas.

“The EU should address the multi-sector nature of health and its close links to gender, nutrition, water, sanitation, environmental quality and education in all relevant policy dialogues,” says the Commission.

“[T]he impact assessment of the relevant policy areas should analyse the effects of policy options on global health.”

With trade policy for example, the European Commission wants to ensure that “EU bilateral trade agreements avoid clauses which may undermine access to medicines.”

Furthermore, the plans call for the establishment of national and EU-level coordinators on global health.

The work of these co-ordinators will be assisted by “a platform to exchange information and meet regularly to agree on common positions and opportunities for joint action.”

The full text of the European Commission Communication on the EU Role in Global Health is available from the website of the Commission’s Directorate-General for Development.

[Image: European Union, 1995-2010]

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