The aim of the conclusions is to contribute to the coordination of EU member states' interventions at the resumed 73rd World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO.
German Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn:
The WHO is at a crossroads. After years of serious challenges, and in the context of the current unprecedented pandemic, it is clear that it needs to be provided with greater capacities. Our timely debate today showed that the EU is ready to take a leading role and steer the global efforts to reform the WHO. Our aim is to make the WHO stronger and better equipped to secure the health of people worldwide.
Ministers shared their views on the following question:
Based on the outcome of the discussion on 2 October 2020 and without prejudice to the ongoing evaluation, what concrete steps can be undertaken by EU member states to achieve the objectives formulated in the draft conclusions with a view to support and guide the process of strengthening the WHO?
All delegations welcomed the draft Council conclusions and the commitment of the EU to play a leading and active role in reshaping the global health landscape. Ministers agreed that a stronger WHO is crucial to ensure people's health worldwide. They stressed that strengthening the organisation is a priority in order to achieve greater efficiency and ensure better operational capabilities.
Ministers highlighted the importance of strengthening the role of the WHO in providing normative guidance, strengthening preparedness, revising the current alert system and better implementing the International Health Regulations. They also called for further support for the so-called “One Health” approach to achieve better public health outcomes.
The Presidency informed ministers about the Council recommendation for a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.