The European Union's voice and influence on global health and the reform of the WHO: the role of diplomacy

This paper explores the implications of the Lisbon Treaty for the European Union's (EU) role in global health. It also considers the EU position at the World Health Organisation (WHO) and specifically on the reform debate where the WHO's core business, financing, governance and management operations are under review. The paper examines the extent to which the EU represents a single voice in discussions and questions where the EU's performance is undermined by disputes over EU competence on global health, WHO governance procedures, a lack of common EU policy objectives or other incoherencies. It also considers other factors contributing to EU performance in the WHO, and the extent to which the EU brings the experience of EU internal governance practices to the table. The paper is based on qualitative interviews with EU staff, professionals from EU and non EU member states. Results suggest that vertical integration across parts of the EU/EC was well-developed, however there was more scope for integration on global health strategy across the EU. Whilst there was good coordination on the WHO reform, there was also little involvement on the reform across MS (EU and non-EU). Tensions arose between the EU and MS when it came to institutional rather than technical matters. There was more scope for horizontal integration across health, foreign policy, research and development within and across the EU and MS. The 'single voice' and effectiveness of EU representation was affected by a number of factors, including MS trust in EU representation, flexibility in negotiations, lengthy EU coordination processes, MS vying for influence within the EU, and MS rather than EU engagement in behind the scenes and 'soft power' diplomacy. The results are considered in light of prior theory and research on the EU's role in global multilateral governance. To see the full paper, click here.

The EU's role in global health and the WHO reform; between health and foreign policy

This paper explores the EU role in global health post the Lisbon Treaty. It was presented by S. Battams at the Lisboan Workshop on EU external representation after Lisbon, 21-22 February, Clingendael Institute, The Hague. See the paper here.

How Europe can better support global health governance: a global public goods approach

GPG_RP201104 April 2011

The third paper in the GHE research series provides a discussion on global public goods theory and its relevance for governance for global health in Europe. Many global health challenges bring to mind the concept of public goods, a concept that is well established in economics but has so far been primarily applied to national phenomena. Within the national context we have learned that public goods pose very special provision or governance challenges, so-called collective action problems. Carried over to the global level through increasing openness and interconnectedness of economies and policy fields global public goods pose even more collective-action challenges, not least because the institution of the state (that helps us nationally to overcome collective action-problems) has no equivalent at the international level.

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Launch of GHE Research Paper: The impact of global processes on health systems in Europe

research_paper_27 October 2010

The second paper in the Global Health Europe Research Series was launched today at the European Health Forum Gastein. The paper "The impact of global processes on health systems in Europe" was written by Dr. Göran Tomson, Professor of International Health Sytems Research at the Division of Global Health (IHCAR) at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.  This paper considers the impact of global processes on European health systems, and the primary ways in which the ever-adapting forces of globalization influence health worker migration, patient mobility and innovation. This review is by no means exhaustive, but it does aim to address the interdependence of Europe's own national health systems as well as its wider responsibility for global health. The paper describes how interdependence and responsibility are influenced by factors not restricted to the European region, and how there is a clear need for national policy-makers to consider global processes in the design of national health system. The latter reflects a need to develop not only national policies, but policies that are truly global.

 

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GLOBAL HEALTH EUROPE RESEARCH PAPER N° 1 | 2009

VanSchaikPaperGetting better: the European Union's performance in the World Health Organization

By Louise van Schaik

Abstract
This paper analyses the performance of the European Union (EU) in the World Health Organization (WHO). It sets out a framework for analysing the EU's performance in relation to unity in external representation. EU unity is assumed to be derived from European Community (EC) competence, the preference homogeneity of EU member states, and the socialization into EU practices of their representatives. The article discusses the increased Europeanization and internationalization of health issues. It argues that this makes it almost inevitable that the EU is becoming a more unified actor within WHO negotiations. At the same time, it points to limitations impeding the EU's performance that are to be taken into account, notably EU member states being cautious about ceding competences to the EU on health issues, them having widely diverging preferences on issues such as reproductive rights, and not fully trusting the European Commission to take over external representation in WHO negotiations.

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