In exactly one month, the 6threplenishment conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and malariawill take place in Lyon, France. Earlier in spring this year, the Global Fund announced the target of $14 billion to step a fight against AIDS, TB and malaria for the next three years (2020-2023). The Global Fund presented Investment Case, showcasing how these $14 billion can help save 16 million lives and cut the mortality rate from HIV, TB and malaria in half.

In response, the global civil society has been actively lobbying national governments, international bodies and private sector to increase their financial commitment ahead of the next three years. The month of August has seen a substantial increase in pledge from the European Union. President of the European Council Donald Tusk announced on behalf of the EU a commitment of €550 million for the Global Fund’s Sixth Replenishment during the G7 Summit in France. The EU has increased its pledge by 16 per cent over its previous contribution. It is an excellent sign of the EU continuous political and financial commitment to fight against TB on a global scale.

Nevertheless, it is not the global commitment to fight against TB that civil society in the EU is most worried about. It is all about internal affairs. The summer months have been busy in Brussels due to the potential revamp of the European Commissioner’s structure and portfolios. It is not yet clear if health and social issues will be prioritised by the new Commission. While the EU has a mandate to ensure a high level of protection of human health in all EU policies, health and social issues have gradually slipped down the EU’s political agenda in recent years. It has often been overshadowed by the debates on growth, migration and security, which resulted in missed opportunities to decrease health inequalities. Thus, the civil society has called the future Health Commissionerto take strategic leadership of putting people and their health at the centre of EU policy-making.

Ingenuously, civils society organisations and networks, present in Brussels, have even created a Job Ad for the perfect Health Commissioner. The President-elect of the Commission, Mrs Ursula von de Leyen will present the nominations of various Commissioners on 10th of September, who will then face the scrutiny of the Members of the European Parliament (hereafter, MEPs). The civil society is hopeful that the job ad will push the MEPs to ask the difficult questions during the hearings process and see if the nominated health commissioner matches the requirements for the role, developed by the civil society. Thus, the autumn promises an interesting political debate on the public health in the EU! Hopefully, with a bit more positive outcome than the ongoing Brexit debacle.

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