Commission welcomes European Parliament adoption of EU4Health programme

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.

The Commission welcomes the vote of the European Parliament today on the EU4Health programme, marking an important step towards making €5.1 billion available to strengthen the resilience of health systems and promote innovation in the health sector. EU4Health will make a significant contribution to the post-COVID-19 recovery by making the EU population healthier, support the fight against cross-border health threats and boost the EU’s preparedness and capability to respond effectively to future health crises, as part of a future strong European Health Union.

Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: “The crisis hit us all symmetrically, with no discrimination. But at the same time, we were faced with an asymmetry between citizens’ expectations and the limited EU responsibilities on health issues. With today’s agreement, we are making the first decisive step to bridge this gap. We are strengthening our policy responses in the areas where Europe has traditionally been weak or with limited competences, like health. The new EU4Health Programme approved today represents one of the most explicit and tangible replies to COVID-19: we now have in our hands a health instrument to address a health crisis.”

Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “Our new EU4Health programme is the foundation of a resilient and strong European Health Union. It is our answer to the gaps revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgent need to modernise the EU’s health systems. Today we are sending a clear message that public health is a priority for Europe. That we stand ready to invest in our collective crisis preparedness and build back stronger, more resilient and accessible health systems, in line with what our citizens rightfully expert from our Union.”

EU4Health, proposed by the Commission on 28 May 2020, is the EU’s response to COVID-19, which has had a major impact on medical and healthcare staff, patients and health systems in the EU. By investing €5.1 billion, therefore becoming the largest health programme ever in monetary terms, EU4Health will provide funding to EU countries, health organisations and NGOs.

EU4Health aims to:

  • Make health systems more resilient to deal with cross-border health threats like COVID-19 and improve crisis management capacity;
  • Make the European Health Union a reality by investing in cancer care, better pandemic preparedness, availability of medicines and innovation; and
  • Boost digital health and disease prevention.

Next steps

The programme now needs to be adopted by the Council before it can enter into force. The first work programme for 2021 will be rolled out following the formal adoption of EU4Health.

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