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An EU Touch on Global Health Norms Adopted under the Auspices of the WHO: a Field of Opportunities in a Limited Legal Landscape

Dominique MOLLET


This working paper examines how the relations between the EU and WHO are arranged and how the (substantive) health norms at the two levels interact with each other. In particular, it is assessed how the EU can influence (legally binding) norms adopted under the auspices of the WHO. It is submitted that despite the restricted legal landscape, namely the lack of capacities of the EU under the WHO Constitution and the limited competences of the EU in the field of health, the EU is capable of influencing international health law adopted under the auspices of the WHO. It ensures international health norms’ compatibility with its own health legislation, for instance, through coordinated positions of the Member States. Additionally, and most importantly for the purposes of this working paper, the EU actively engages in multilevel dialogues with the WHO. Thereby it uploads its own norms to the WHO-level and downloads WHO-norms to the EU-level. These ‘multilevel normative processes’ do not only ensure preferred international health norms for the EU, but they similarly contribute to the development of health law – both internationally and regionally.


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