France should use Presidency of Council of the EU to promote global health leadership, says think tank

France will hold the Presidency of the EU Council from January 1, 2022, until June 30, 2022. Santé Mondiale 2030, a French think-tank, published a policy note outlining the (historically limited) role of the EU in public health policies and urged EU member states and the French Presidency of the Council of the EU to mobilize support from the COVID-19 pandemic to widen the EU's global health mandate and increase its global health governance influence.

Analysts suggest that the EU would be more influential in international development and global public health if member states adopted joint positions on global health issues such as intellectual property rights, transparency of costs, and public subsidies allocated to R&D. The EU could also prepare joint positions within boards of global health organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund, or the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) partnership to make stronger developments in the sector. 

In addition, Santé Mondiale 2030 highlighted three specific areas for the French Presidency of the Council of the EU to address:

  1. Build an overarching and more robust EU strategy for global health while reinitiating the proposal launched during Finland's Presidency in 2021;
  2. Launch a strong European program around three initiatives by France and Germany in 2021: the Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence in Berlin, the World Health Organization (WHO) academy in Lyon, and the Prezode Initiative (Preventing Zoonotic Disease Emergence); and, 
  3. Develop a strong partnership between the EU and the African Union in global health through concrete and funded projects, such as a partnership between the European and African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCs).

Report - Santé Mondiale 2030 (in French)