The biggest ever EU Health Programme and the rules to distribute its €5.1 billion funds are to be agreed today. Negotiators of the European Parliament and EU Member States are to strike a deal tonight on the law setting up the European Union’s so called 'EU4Health' Programme from 2021 onwards.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that Europe was not equipped to deal with a serious health crisis. During the first peak of the pandemic, we not only lacked doctors, nurses and medical staff, but also medicines and medical equipment. It must never happen again that a doctor must choose who lives or dies because the hospital does not have resources to help all", said the EPP Group's Cristian Silviu Bușoi MEP, the lead negotiator for the European Parliament. "Therefore, the programme will allocate funds for the establishment of a reserve for essential crisis-relevant products, medical and healthcare staff, in synergy and complementarity with other EU instruments", he added.
Requisite to the health programme that Bușoi negotiated is an increase in health funding in the new EU long-term budget. "It was on the initiative of the EPP Group that the Commission finally tripled the funding for the EU4Health Programme, moving from €1.7 billion to €5.1 billion at the end of the negotiations with the Member States. Our citizens’ health must always come first! The 4th Programme in the field of health, EU4Health will be the most ambitious and resourceful by far!", said Bușoi.
For the EPP Group, it was crucial to make sure that EU4Health draws lessons from COVID-19 and supports actions that will upgrade the healthcare systems in EU Member States. The EPP Group also wanted the programme to support the training of health staff, reduce health inequalities, support digitalisation in the healthcare sector, finance a masterplan against cancer and bring back the production of medicines to Europe.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 187 Members from all EU Member States