After difficult negotiations, the European Parliament and the European Council came to an agreement on the EU4Health programme for the period 2021-2027, which will ensure that the EU will become a much more pro-active player in the field of health.
In the midst of a continuing pandemic, building a European Health Union is a top priority for Renew Europe, and the agreement reached on the EU4Health is an important step towards achieving this. In the negotiations, the Parliament fought hard to ensure sufficient resources for the programme. Initially endowed by the Commission with a budget of 9.4 billion euro, the programme was drastically reduced last July to only 1.7 billion euro by the Heads of State and Government of the EU. Thanks to the pressure from the European Parliament negotiating team, the programme will have a final budget of 5.1 billion euro to promote and implement European health policies.
Health promotion and disease prevention will play a key role in the programme in line with the Renew Europe priorities and as reflected by the fact that a minimum of 20% of the EU4Health budget is dedicated towards these objectives.
Another 12.5% of the budget is earmarked for the stockpiling of essential crisis relevant products, which will help ensure that the EU and the member states are better prepared to deal with future health crises.
A separate topic for difficult debate during the negotiations was the promotion of access to sexual and reproductive healthcare. Thanks to the strong pressure from the Parliament and Renew Europe, activities related to sexual and reproductive healthcare will covered by the programme.
All in all, the EU4Health programme takes a very comprehensive approach to health, making sure it will be possible both to reduce the health inequalities in an between member states, while also creating a stronger foundation for cross border cooperation in the field of health benefiting all Europeans.
“Nothing less would do to make sure the EU can live up to its ambitions and responsibilities in the field of health”, explains shadow rapporteur Véronique Trillet-Lenoir (Liste Renaissance, FR), “Beyond agreeing on numbers, this deal marks the first milestones for a true European Health Union.”
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