WHO and EU commit to work together to accelerate progress on health
On 19–21 November, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus participated in a series of meetings with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and other senior European Commission officials. Dr Tedros praised the fruitful cooperation between the Commission and WHO, particularly in the fields of antimicrobial resistance, strengthening health systems and preparedness for outbreaks of communicable diseases in developing countries. President Juncker confirmed the European Commission’s support for the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-Being for All to accelerate progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr Tedros met separately with Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, responsible for health and food safety; Commissioner Neven Mimica, responsible for international cooperation and development; the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides; Commissioner Karmenu Vella, in charge of the environment, fisheries and maritime affairs; as well as with Director-General for Research and Innovation Jean-Eric Paquet.
Additionally, Dr Tedros addressed the European Parliament, which was commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with a celebration of Human Rights Week. In his address, Dr Tedros emphasized, “Both WHO’s Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights assert that health is a human right, rather than a privilege for those who can afford it. But we must remember that the right to health is not a given. It takes renewed political commitment and leadership in every generation – including ours”.
Dr Tedros signed a joint statement with the European Parliament during his time in Brussels. He thanked Members of the European Parliament for their commitment to the right to health and to the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-Being for All, to be presented at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2019. “The new Joint Statement between WHO and the European Parliament will provide a great opportunity for future collaboration on achieving the health-related Sustainable Development Goals,” he concluded.