EMA and EUnetHTA publish joint three-year work plan

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Network for Health Technology Assessment (EUnetHTA) have published a joint work plan for 2017-2020 to improve the efficiency and quality of medicine regulatory evaluation and health technology assessment (HTA) in the EU. The new work plan focuses on creating a joint platform for parallel consultation, information exchange at market entry, and post-authorization data generation, among other areas for collaboration.

Press release – EMA

EU Global health Global health R&D

OECD DAC holds meetings in Paris to discuss ODA

The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) held key meetings this week at its headquarters in Paris, hosting delegations from the 30 richest donor countries to discuss the rules surrounding ODA. A number of controversial issues were debated, including 1) the amount of ODA that donors can spend on in-country refugee costs, 2) the cap on the amount of ODA that can be directed towards multilateral peacekeeping efforts in conflict-affected countries, and 3) how to measure ODA spent through blended finance mechanisms.

The UK in particular has been critical of existing ODA regulations, having previously suggested that it may pull out of OECD-DAC if rules surrounding spending on military and security costs remained unchanged.

News article - Devex

EU calls for research proposals for Horizon2020

The EU has finalized its Horizon2020 (2018 to 2020) research and innovation work program, and will be calling for research proposals within the coming days. Calls will include research on HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and/or hepatitis C; the establishment of an international network of Social Sciences Research Centres to help address governance and other challenges in the preparedness for and the response to infectious threats; the creation of a Europe-wide sustainable clinical research network for infectious diseases; and priority-setting for a European environment, climate, and health research agenda.

Horizon2020 is the EU 's biggest research and innovation program to date.

Publication - European Commission


European parliament blocks cuts to development assistance

A large majority of European parliamentarians have blocked approval of the EU budget for 2018, in part to overturn cuts to development and humanitarian spending proposed by the European Commission and Council of the EU. The parliament approved an overall budget of €2 billion more than proposed by the Commission, along with over 500 amendments to the Council’s proposal. The Council responded that it cannot accept all the parliamentary amendments. A three-week conciliation process will now begin, with a deadline of November 20, 2017 for the Council and parliament to agree on a common budget.

News article - EurActiv

Website - European Parliament


European Council applauds progress made on 'irregular' migration controls

At a meeting of the European Council, EU heads of state and government discussed progress made on migration and external border controls. They applauded the significant reduction in irregular migration and reaffirmed their commitment to the current approach, which focuses on joint cooperation with third countries (e.g., Libya) and increased rates of migrant return. However, leaders expressed concern over the need to ensure adequate funding for North Africa through the EU Trust Fund for Africa, which has thus far received only €175 million in Member State financial commitments. According to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, this amount is "not enough" for the EU to maintain its current level of engagement. 

Press release - European Commission


Devex publishes ‘user friendly’ guide to EFSD

Devex has written a clear explanation of the form and function of the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD), the multi-billion euro fund supporting investment in Africa and countries around Europe’s borders. Launched in September 2017, the EFSD is one of three pillars in the European External Investment Plan, which was announced by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in response to high levels of irregular migration to the EU. Devex’s guide highlights the controversy surrounding the fund, which has been criticized for its perceived emphasis on reducing migration, rather than promoting development.

News article - Devex


European parliament committee backpedals EU research funding

A draft opinion from the EU Parliament’s Industry, Research, and Energy (ITRE) committee on the EU’s Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) reverses some positive language from its prior report on the current (Horizon2020) and future (FP9) EU research framework programs. Instead of calling for increased funds for FP9, the draft MFF opinion calls for the same level as now. Where the prior report urged “EU leadership in prioritising public research needs and for sufficient transparency, traceability etc.” in public private partnerships, the new opinion now calls for “a greater focus on implementing innovation through joint undertakings”. Advocates are promoting amendments that would increase health- and wellbeing-related funding and prioritize transparency in public-private-partnerships.

Website – European Parliament


European parliament considers changing length of future EU financial frameworks

The European parliament Policy Department for Budgetary Affairs has published an assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of establishing a new EU Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) for five, seven, or ten years. The report considers a five-year cycle too short and seems to favor a ten-year one as long as some flexibility is retained. According to Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung, the analysis will inform the parliament’s decisions on the MFF, for which committees are already preparing their positions. The European Commission is expected to publish a proposal for the next MFF in May 2018.

Publication – European Parliament


Expert group reports on mid-term success and challenges of European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership

An expert group evaluating the second European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP2) on the basis of its efficiency, relevance, coherence, appropriateness, effectiveness, and EU-added-value for 2014-2016 found overall positive results. However, the expert group urged the improvement of 1) integration, alignment, and coordination with partner states, 2) long-term strategic planning, 3) financial expectations for cooperation with other public and private partners, and 4) implementation of the portfolio approach to funding and partnerships. Several of these recommendations have been voiced previously by civil society stakeholders and partners.

Publication – European Commission


European Court of Auditors publishes 2018 work program

Details released on the European Court of Auditors’ 2018 work program set out priority areas for assessment, including growth and inclusion, migration, and global development challenges. The Court will prepare a briefing paper on the future of the EU budget as a contribution to the discussion on the EU's medium-term financial framework, as well as briefing papers on Horizon 2020 and audits of the EU Trust Fund for Africa and NGO funding.

Website - European Court of Auditors