The European Union's healthcare policy

the european union's healthcare policy Joint healthcare policy at the level of the EU

The ongoing sanitary crisis can be viewed as an opportunity to progress, while the return to the old normality is no longer an option. This is Brussels' stance, expressed by the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides.


"The past year the crisis has taught us how crucially important health is for each and everyone of us. It has shown us how fragile our societies are, and how fast everything can be turned upside down by something so small, that is invisible to the naked eye. It has taught us that health is a pre-condition of our societies and economies to function and it has reminded us of the value of solidarity and cooperation, and being united in diversity, to overcome the health crisis in modern times. The past year has shown us that fragmentation makes all the states vulnerable.


The coronavirus pandemic emphatically highlighted the relevance of a unanimous response in crisis situations. The European Commission has put forward the idea of establishing a new Public Health Europe. Moreover, a new special agency will be set up, as a guarantee of the fact that the European Union does have the means to cope with the future sanitary crises. Pleading for a "Healthcare European Union" and the strengthening of the European healthcare system, the president of the European Commission, Ursula Von Der Leyen, in mid-September, in her annual speech on the state of the European Union specified that this was a global crisis, we need to learn the global lessons, we need to make the new Public Health Europe program to stand the test of time. Next year, the European Union will call for a global summit on healthcare, to be held in Italy, in a bid to better prepare for the future pandemics, Ms Von Der Leyen also said. The President of the European Commission also emphasized the necessity of the strengthening of the European Medicines Agency and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. Ms Von Der Leyen also spoke about the creation of a European agency for advanced research and development in the field of bio-medicine, taking up on a model existing in the USA. 


The proposal package prepared by the Commission targeted the strengthening of the European Union's Strategic Framework on Health and Safety, the preparation for crises situations and rendering the European healthcare agencies more efficient. 


The European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides:


'This is going to be a step change for EU's capacity to respond and coordinate. Our response in the future will be stronger and also more pro-human. It will be stronger because together with ECDC, formally adopt recommendations and what response measures to take, it will be more coherent because our measures will be based on the same scientific basis. This will avoid the confusion that citizens can feel when they are tested with fundamentally different measures in place. We will now also be able to declare emergency situations together at EU level and activate our emergency response mechanisms, for example, in order to procure the necessary equipment.


Having a new regulation system as the underlying legal framework for the serious cross-border healthcare threats, recommendations and plans are to be drafted at the level of the European Union for the preparation in the case of healthcare crises. In the event of a pandemic, surveillance will be improved through a future integrated and strengthened  European system. Furthermore, the EU member states will have the responsibility of providing a more accurate report on the healthcare system indicators, for instance, the availability of hospital beds, the specialized treatment and Intensive Care capabilities, or the number of staff members with medical training. Also, whenever a state of emergency is declared, the European Union will be entitled to coordinate actions on a unitary basis, to create supplies and buy the necessary produce. The Commission has announced that, by the end of next year, it will also put forward the setting up of a health emergency response authority.


With an overwhelming majority, the European Parliament endorsed the proposals, thereby offering a strong mandate for the negotiation with the Council of the European Union of the final version of EU4Health, for which 5.1 billion Euros will be earmarked. The set target pertains to the program beginning to run for the benefit of patients and medical systems of all EU member states as of January 2021. Through this program, sufficient medicines stocks will be provided, as well as vaccines, sanitary materials and devices, with a view to coping with the medical crises. EU4Health will also be a powerful instrument in the fight against cancer and cardiovascular diseases. The program will also give a better chance to patients suffering from chronic and rare conditions. EU4Health will also contribute to the better treatment of patients suffering from diabetes or patients who are affected by mental disorders. EU4Health will also help a series of prevention and screening programs to be run for EU member states. It will also support vaccination, and, last but not the least, it will support research, innovation and the digitization of the healthcare systems.

(Translation by Eugen Nasta)



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Publicat: 2020-11-20 14:00:00
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