EU is claiming leadership in global health policies

SW – 04/2023

Members of Parliament (MEPs) discussed the new 2022 - 2030 Global Health Strategy on 19 April. The EU adopted the strategy back in November 2022. The European Commission’s notice is the result of the joint initiative of the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (SANTE) and the Directorate-General for International Partnerships (INTPA) and it replaces the 2010 Global Health Strategy. The work on the new EU Global Health Strategy shows that health policy, lately it included the COVID-19 pandemic as well, is not only being tackled at European level, but also globally. The EU is claiming leadership in this.

Debate in the European Parliament

During the European Parliament session held in Strasbourg, the Swedish Minister for EU Affairs, Jessika Roswall, first highlighted the priority that will be given to global health by the Swedish Presidency. Comprehensive coordinating of the relevant EU financial instruments will be needed in order to successfully create the synergies.

The EU Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides, identified global health as an essential pillar of the EU's external policy, which illustrates the external dimension of the European Health Union and is a key component in the EU's “Global Gateway“ strategy for a more crisis-proof Europe.

She cited three priorities for the new "Global Health" strategy, which are all closely linked:

  • combating the causes of health hazards, which could be economic, environmental or social in nature
  • strengthening global health
  • strengthening health systems as well as progressive and universal social protection

The European Commission wants to create a new global health order and it advocates a multilateral system in which the WHO will be the core. The EU will have formal observer status in the WHO.

How is global health funded?

The Commissioner is promoting the use of innovative financial instruments and new funding opportunities in the European Parliament to advance the European approach. The EU’s health strategy will have appropriate budgetary mechanisms, such as EU4Health or Horizon Europe.

She is hoping for strong Council conclusions, expected in a fortnight, to support the ambitious objectives. "Only with a joint vote from the Commission, the Council, the parliament and the member states will we be able to make a difference both locally and internationally" said Kyriakides.