On 22 September, a panel titled "Strengthening Regional Cooperation on Public Health: European Health Union Regulations, Strategies, and Programs - Relevance for CEI Countries" was organised in Brussels under the Moldovan CEI Presidency, together with the WHO Regional Office for Europe, the WHO Office to the EU and the CEI-Executive Secretariat.
The gathering brought together high-level officials from Ministries of Health, health attaches from Brussels-based diplomatic missions, WHO representatives, and the representatives of the relevant Directorates-General of the European Commission and EU agencies dealing with health issues. The aim was to foster enhanced regional cooperation, providing CEI member countries with insights into tools made available by the European Union, particularly focusing on CEI countries in the EU accession process.
EU representatives elaborated on these aspects, encouraging the sharing of best practices and exploration of improved synergies and regional cooperation on health, presenting the developments of the European Health Union, its key regulations, strategies, programmes and practical instruments as well as its future perspectives.
CEI Deputy Secretary General Nina Kodelja - who co-opened the gathering with Svetlana Cotelea-Nicolaescu, Deputy Minister of Health of the Republic of Moldova; Dr Gundo Weiler, Director for Country Support, WHO Europe, and Sandra Gallina, Director General of the European Commission for Health and Food Safety - emphasised the importance of the CEI-WHO partnership, the necessity to link this cooperation to the European integration process and the CEI’s commitment to contributing to European and global health diplomacy through regional cooperation.
The event highlighted the lessons learned from COVID-19, underlining the need to reinforce national health systems for future challenges, with the EU actively supporting countries in this regard.
In this setting, Svetlana Cotelea Nicolaescu, Deputy Minister of Health of the Republic of Moldova, emphasised health's high position on the regional cooperation agenda through the CEI presidency, considering it a vital contributor to regional development and a driver of economies.
Dr. Gundo Weiler, Director for Country Support, WHO Regional Office for Europe underlined that the cooperation with the CEI represented a model for their work with other regions.
Overall, the panel stressed the necessity of enhancing cooperation with WHO for greater synergies with EU priorities, and health diplomacy at global, regional and national level was highlighted as a tool for progress and inclusivity. The event provided an opportunity for engagement with officials from various EU Directorates-General and agencies, further fostering collaboration and shared goals in the realm of public health.
With an observer status at the United Nations’ General Assembly since 2011, the CEI consistently works towards resolutions promoting cooperation between the UN and the CEI. The latest resolution (A/RES/77/19) underscores CEI's dedication to addressing pressing challenges, collaborating with WHO/Europe to enhance health and well-being in CEI countries, aligning with the EU health-related agenda for countries on their path to EU accession.
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