The European Commission has welcomed the adoption of the EU4Health programme following a vote of approval by the European Parliament.
The adoption marks an important step towards making €5.1bn in funding available to help strengthen European health systems and promote innovation in the sector, making a significant contribution to Europe’s COVID-19 recovery.
The programme will help support the prevention of cross-border health threats, as well as boosting the EU’s preparedness for potential future health crises.
Responding to COVID-19
The EU4Health programme was proposed by the European Commission in May 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The €5.1bn investment will make it the largest health programme ever in monetary terms, and will provide funding to EU countries, health organisations, and NGOs.
The programme 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
- Boost digital health and disease prevention
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, added: “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 expect from our Union.”