The first round of reforms towards a stronger European Health Union, boosting the EU’s internal capacities, is currently underway. These reforms, and the events which prompted them (primarily the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic), strengthen the prospects for further joint external action. But how can the EU ensure that its new global health strategy – unlike the 2010 version – will succeed in delivering concerted action towards better and more equal health outcomes around the world?
To answer this, Louise Bengtsson describes what has changed since 2010 and examines the institutional and political context. Against this background, she reflects on the areas which have most potential for success. The key argument is that, to move beyond the limited focus on preparedness and response to potential pandemics, it is necessary to understand the full spectrum of the EU’s existing internal and external policies, both those with direct and indirect relevance for global health.
The strategy is most likely to be successful, the analysis finds, if it focuses on those areas in which the Union has a strong mandate and established role. And the EU must build deep and meaningful partnerships, backed up with sufficient funding and robust monitoring, if it is to succeed in becoming a relevant player in global health.