Reports and papers

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

21 Dec 2009 - 11:07

On 4 December 2009, a research paper by Louise van Schaik was published at the occasion of a Nobel Forum Seminar on the EU's role in Global Health in Stockholm. This event, organised by Karolinska Institutet, the Swedish Presidency of the EU, and Global Health Europe, focused on the emerging role of the EU in cross-border health questions. It took place against the background of a European Commission consultation on the EU's role in global health. The paper 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. These include 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. The paper also analyses the potential consequences of the implementation of the Lisbon treaty for the EU's role in global health.