European Commission (EC)
WHO and the European Commission (EC) concluded an exchange of letters in 2000 to consolidate and intensify cooperation, outlining the objectives, priorities and areas of cooperation, as well as the procedures, activities and practical arrangements for its implementation. In 2003 the Financial and Administrative Framework Agreement (FAFA) was signed between the European Commission and the United Nations, which eased the administrative differences between them and facilitated future collaboration.
More specific cooperation has been established place in 2010 through a Joint Declaration in which the European Commission and WHO/Europe agreed on cooperation in various priority areas for which they have developed roadmaps. These roadmaps have been fully implemented.
In September 2015, during the 65th European Regional Committee in Vilnius, Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, and Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health & Food Safety, jointly presented a document that outlines the objectives, principles and modalities for continued cooperation between the European Commission and the WHO Regional Office for Europe in the area of health.
Accordingly, the EC and WHO agree to strengthen their joint engagement in six priority areas:
- innovation and health;
- health security;
- modernizing and integrating the public health information system;
- health inequalities;
- health systems strengthening; and
- chronic diseases.
At the political level, there are regular high-level meetings between the Regional Director and European Commissioners. Meetings between senior officials at the technical level take place at least once a year, ensuring continued discussion and progress. Such Senior Official’s Meetings (SOM) review the cooperation and set specific actions, concrete deliverables, and produce deadlines for completing them.
The most recent SOM was held in February 2015 and focused on six main issues: Ebola, health security, anti-microbial resistance, in-country cooperation, access to medicines globally, and cooperation in the European region. The 2015 meeting also highlighted the joint achievements made in the last five years in areas of innovation, health security, health information, health systems, health inequalities, non-communicable diseases and in-country collaboration, and took note of the concrete steps for collaboration for the upcoming year.