The International Affairs and Policy Development is one of the directorates within the Strategy and Sustainability Division in the Ministry for Energy and Health (MEH).
The main function of this Directorate is to coordinate the formulation of the Ministry’s position on policies proposed by the EU, and functions as the local and international link that explores and utilises opportunities arising from EU membership and bilateral / international relations. Policy development takes places on an ongoing basis through the submission of reports, positions and questionnaires in response to requests from the European Commission. This Directorate is also responsible to play a major role and/or assist others within the Ministry for the drawing up of policies in the areas of public health, health care services and long-term care and to promote the sustainable development of the Maltese health sector in line with service users’ and national needs and priorities.
The Directorate is involved in the promotion of the concept of ‘Health in all Policies’ through its work and collaboration in inter-sectoral activities and reviews. It is frequently consulted by other Ministries and entities to review their positions on various subjects in order to ascertain that health aspects are promoted and appropriately catered for.
This Directorate is responsible for coordinating Malta’s participation in EU structures and processes through coordination with local stakeholders including EU Secretariat, other Ministries and the Permanent Representation in Brussels. The core tasks pertaining to the EU Affairs Directorate on a daily basis in the field of policy coordination are the following:
The Directorate coordinates attendance to EU meetings in order to ensure that Malta is appropriately represented at all meetings where important decisions are taken. The office is also responsible to identify and nominate national experts in the field of medicines, food, communicable diseases and other public health organisations and networks.
In the field of International Affairs, the Directorate plays a major role in the work being done to develop and implement bilateral agreements with several countries. Currently, MEH is involved in bilateral relations with several countries that include the UK, Italy, Libya, Tunisia, Israel, Qatar and Kuwait. Work is also progressing on the development of bilateral agreements with other countries such as Belgium and Slovakia.
Finally, the Directorate is an important contact point for MEH with the World Health Organisation (Global and European Regional Office) and the United Nations and works in close collaboration with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on all the above tasks.
The overall objectives:
The key objectives of the Directorate are as follows:
To develop and consolidate the policy development structures of the Ministry, identify key areas in line with general Government policy for advancement and conduct this development employing international best practice and local evidence and reflecting appropriate consultations with stakeholders which includes user participation.
To assist in the performance of assessments of economic and sustainability implications of proposed or existing policies and programmes and review of standards, regulation and service development initiatives.
To proactively identify areas of key strategic importance for the Maltese health sector where the EU institutions are engaging in discussion and formulation of proposals and act as the focal point in preparing EU positions following consultation within the Ministry, with other Ministries as relevant and with external stakeholders.
To ensure that all obligations entered into by Government as a Member States of the EU are adhered to within the set time-frames.
To promote the development of bilateral activities with other countries and seek opportunities for fostering greater collaboration and ensure compliance with bilateral and multilateral agreements and commitments.