New EU programme EU4Health aims to strengthen Europe’s health systems to respond better to future major cross-border crises, such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Covid-19 outbreak has shown the need for EU countries to better cooperate and coordinate in times of crisis and to strengthen the EU’s capacity to respond effectively to new cross-border health threats.
Drawing on the lessons learnt, a new EU health programme named EU4Health aims to fill the gaps revealed by the pandemic. Member states are primarily competent for health policy, but the EU can complement and support national measures and adopt legislation in specific sectors.
Besides better protection against and management of crises by strengthening member states’ health systems and delivering better care, the EU4Health programme also aims to improve health and foster innovation and investment.
The three main priorities of EU4Health
Protection of people from serious cross-border health threats
Improved availability of medicines
Stronger health systems
EU4Health is part of the Next Generation EU recovery plan.
On 13 November, the Parliament adopted its position on the new EU health programme. MEPs called for a European Health Response Mechanism to boost cooperation at EU level in times of crisis, a European monitoring system for shortages of medicines and medical devices, greater focus on disease prevention and digitalisation through a European eHealth Record.
In the provisional agreement on the EU’s budget for 2021-2027 reached on 10 November, Parliament’s team negotiated an increase in the budget for this programme to €5.1 billion from €1.7 billion proposed by the member states.