European Commission and WHO announce plan to eliminate vaccine-preventable diseases at Global Vaccine Summit

The European Commission (EC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a 10-point action plan to improve vaccine access and to eliminate vaccine-preventable diseases at the Global Vaccine Summit in Brussels on September 12, 2019.

The plan included commitments from both institutions to: 

  • Promote vaccination and build effective collaboration and partnerships to sustain high coverage rates;
  • Ensure countries have national immunization strategies; 
  • Build surveillance systems for vaccine-preventable diseases;
  • Tackle the root causes of vaccine hesitancy; and
  • Invest, including with novel models of funding and incentives, in research and development for new or improved vaccines and delivery devices.

The EC-WHO summit featured high-level participants including Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and European Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis. The summit highlighted the role of vaccine hesitancy in the current measles outbreak in Europe and called for the restoration of trust in vaccines and increased political commitments and investments to improve global vaccine coverage.

Event website - Global Vaccination Summit

10-point action plan - European Commission and World Health Organization

EU Global health

Advocacy group calls for future EU-Africa global health research partnership

Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW), a German advocacy organization, has published a new position paper calling for the future EU-Africa global health research partnership to build on the success of the current partnership for financing research on poverty-related neglected diseases in Africa. The next EU-Africa global health research partnership is currently being discussed as a part of the negotiations on the next EU long-term budget, the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). 
The position paper highlights the impact that the European Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) has had to date, and notes the importance of the proposal for an EDCTP successor program in the future EU research and innovation (R&I) framework  'Horizon Europe'.

The paper recommends: 

  • Continuing EDCTP’s mission and program;
  • Adopting a flexible funding approach;
  • Supporting the partnership with an ambitious budget;
  • Ensuring inclusive governance, accountability, and improved efficiency; and
  • Adopting and enforcing clear conditions on access and affordability.

DSW position paper - The Next EU-Africa Global Health Research Partnership: Building on the Success of EDCTP

EU Global health R&D

European Commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen announces new team and Commission structure

On September 10, 2019, European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen presented the new structure of her college of commissioners and the distribution of portfolios to her commissioners-designate, still to be vetted by the European Parliament. The college has been revamped to focus more on policy themes rather than mirroring the directorate-generals, the administrative divisions within the Commission. 
Josep Borrell (Spain), the designate for high-representative of the union for foreign policy and security policy will also be in charge of ‘a stronger Europe in the world’ as one of the eight vice-presidents. Three executive vice-presidents will hold dual roles as commissioners in addition to their responsibilities to the core topics of the president-elect’s agenda, including the European Green Deal, making ‘Europe fit for the digital age’, and creating an ‘economy that works for the people’. 
Other commissioners-designate include: 

  • Mariya Gabriel (Bulgaria) - Innovation and youth (including research and development)
  • Stella Kyriakides (Cyprus) - Health
  • Jutta Urpilainen (Finland) - International partnerships (including development cooperation)
  • László Trócsányi (Hungary) - Neighborhood and enlargement
  • Janusz Wojciechowski (Poland) - Agriculture

Commissioners-designate will next participate in hearings in relevant parliamentary committees. The European Parliament must then give its consent to the entire college, including the president and the High-Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Finally, the European Council (made up of heads of government of EU member states) will formally appoint the European Commission. The new Commission’s mandate will begin November 1, 2019. 
Press release - European Commission

European Think Tanks Group publishes proposals for ‘An Agenda for Europe in the World’

The European Think Tanks Group (ETTG), a consortium of European think tanks focused on EU development cooperation, has published a package of proposals for the new EU leadership on how the EU can make a difference in the world. In the context of the upcoming leadership transition on November 1, 2019, ETTG has compiled recommendations for the EU’s global role in peace and security, mobility and migration, climate action, energy and urbanization, trade and development, human development, strategic partnerships, democracy, and development finance. The report’s recommendations include: 

  • Investment in a comprehensive partnership with Africa;
  • Unlocking migration’s development potential;
  • Prevention of conflicts and the building of sustainable peace;
  • Support for the clean energy transition in cities;
  • Addressing climate change in the least developed countries;
  • Leading on global trade and development;
  • An end to extreme poverty;
  • Prioritization of support for democracy; and
  • An increase in funding for external action.

An Agenda for Europe in the World - EETG Report


Former prime minister Paolo Gentiloni nominated as Italian commissioner for the new European Commission

During the first meeting of the new Council of Ministries, prime minister Giuseppe Conte nominated Paolo Gentiloni as commissioner for the new EU Commission, lead by Ursula Von der Der Leyen from November 1, 2019.

Paolo Gentiloni is a founding member of the Democratic Party and served as prime minister from 2016- 2018, as minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation from 2014- 2016 under Matteo Renzi’s government, and minister of communication from 2016- 2008 under Romano Prodi.

Press release – Presidency of the Council of Ministries (in Italian)

EU Italy

Think tank presents report on building EU-Africa partnership

The Center for Global Development (CGD) presented its new report “Building an EU-Africa Partnership of Equals: A Roadmap for the New European Leadership” at a panel event on September 4, 2019. The report makes recommendations on how the new European Commission, which begins its mandate on November 1, 2019, can realize the vision of the current Commission to radically shift the EU's approach to development cooperation in Africa. The recommendations include: 

  • New legal labor migration pathways, including through global skills partnerships;
  • Redesigning the European External Investment Plan;
  • Strengthening EU leadership on global health security; and
  • Reforming EU trade policy in Africa. 

The report launch event featured a panel of speakers with Stefano Manservisi, the director-general for development cooperation; Mikaela Gavas, CGD’s co-director for development cooperation in Europe; H.E. Mrs Harriet Sena Siaw-Boateng, Ambassador of Ghana to the EU; Koen Vervaeke, managing director for Africa, European external action service; and Ambroise Fayolle, vice-president, European Investment Bank.
Building an EU-Africa Partnership of Equals: A Roadmap for the New European Leadership - CGD report
What’s the EU’s offer to Africa? - CGD event page

EU Global health

Council of the EU adopts 2020 EU budget position

The Council of the EU (Council) officially adopted its 2020 EU budget position on 3 September, 2019. 

  • The Council agreed on €166.2 billion (US$187.4 billion) for the total 2020 budget, a decrease from the Commission’s draft budget proposal of €167.7 billion (US$189 billion).
  • The position included a 3.73% increase in funding from 2019 for the research framework program - Horizon 2020. Current funding amounts to a total of €12.8 billion (US$14.4 billion), which marks a decrease from the Council’s draft budget proposal of €13.2 billion (US$14.9 billion).
  • External action under the 'Global Europe' heading received a significant cut in both the Council's position and in the EC’s draft budget. The Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), the EU’s main on-budget instrument for development, was increased by 1.96% from €3.2 billion (US$3.6 billion) to €3.3 billion (US$3.7 billion) in the Commission’s draft budget, but under the adopted position, funding to DCI was cut to €3.2 billion (US$3.6 billion), marginally lower than the proposed amounts in 2019.

The Council's position will be presented to the European Parliament during its September plenary session. The Parliament is expected to adopt amendments to the Council’s position on 23 October, 2019,  initiating a three-week conciliation period. The joint text is then expected to be adopted by October or November of 2019.

Press release - Council of the EU


EU foreign affairs chief praises EU-Africa partnership

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini, spoke at the EU ambassadors annual conference in Brussels on 2 September, 2019.  In her speech, Mogherini highlighted the role of the EU in the world, urged the EU to undertake more leadership roles in global affairs and called for stronger global engagement through diplomacy.

In addition, Mogherini emphasized the importance of multilateral partnerships in her speech, especially stressing on EU- Africa relations. She commended the EU-African partnership for being "one of the strongest" EU multilateral partnerships and praised the friendly alliance that the EU shared with the African Union, sub-regional organizations and individual countries within Africa.
News article - European Union External Action 


EU commits US$56 million in assistance for victims of violence and displacement in North East Nigeria

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, announced at the 7th Tokyo International Conference on Africa Development -TICAD, that the EU is committing €50 million (US$56 million) in humanitarian and development assistance for North-East Nigeria.

This funding brings the total amount of EU support for recovery and conflict resilience in the area to a sum of €562 million (US$634 million) between 2014-2020. The additional funding announced on August 29, 2019, will provide support for victims of violence and displacement and will assist in addressing drivers of violent extremism and in supporting peace-building, conflict prevention, and resolution efforts in the region. 
Press release - European Commission 


EU announces US$96 million in financial support to women’s entrepreneurship in Africa

The EU announced that it will provide more than €85 million (US$96 million) in financial support for the African Development Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program to help support women-led businesses. The contribution was announced at the G7 Summit held from August 24-26, 2019, in Biarritz, France.
The AFAWA initiative is intended to help address the estimated US$42 billion financing gap for African women’s business projects. The initiative aims to support women entrepreneurs by implementing a guarantee mechanism which would reduce the cost of accessing credit for women. The initiative estimates it will facilitate up to US$3 billion in loans over five years for over 50,000 women-run businesses. 
Report - G7 Summit