The European Commission has proposed support for a long term partnership between Europe and developing countries in the form of 200 million euro for the development of new medicines and vaccines against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. This European and developing countries clinical trials partnership (EDCTP) brings together EU Member States plus Norway, developing countries and industry in a joint effort to combat poverty-linked diseases. EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin described the initiative as a perfect example of the functioning of the European research area and said: 'This important initiative shows our commitment to help developing countries combat these diseases by working together to develop vaccines against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and to make treatment cheaper as well as adapt it to the needs of the poorest countries. The Commission's proposal is the result of thorough consultations between all stakeholders involved.' This is the first step towards bringing the 600 million euro EDCTP programme forwards from concept to reality. It is also the first time the Commission has taken the initiative to bring together clinical research activities and programmes of several Member States in the pursuit of a common objective. The 200 million euro pledged by the Community will be matched by 200 million euro from participating countries' national clinical research programmes and 200 million euro from other donors and industry. This initiative by the EU and participating European countries will allow for the rapid launching of a first set of urgent measures, once the European Parliament and Council have given the green light. The vicious circle of disease and poverty is the cause of a fundamental public health and economic crisis in developing countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis (TB) alone account for more than five million deaths every year, 95 per cent of these in the developing world. The EDCTP follows up the 2001 'programme for action' and aims to stimulate more and better research and development activities to fight the three diseases.