The unprecedented global Covid-19 pandemic has possibly taught us something we now need to better enforce: united we are stronger. The EU4Health programme is the ambitious enforcement of this lesson.
Covid-19 has dramatically revealed the fragility and weaknesses of the EU’s 27 national healthcare systems. Hence, the S&D Group welcomes the effort put forward by the EU Commission in the EU4Health programme in the attempt to move towards increasing European responsibility and solidarity on health matters, including ensuring a better co-ordinated, shared, equal and adequate medical response in all member states.
This must be especially true now in co-ordinating a fair and equal distribution of vaccines and treatments among EU citizens, and most importantly ensure access to quality healthcare for all.
S&D shadow rapporteur, Sara Cerdas MEP, stated:
“The EU4Health programme is a first step for a true European Health Union, which leaves no one behind and improves the accessibility and affordability to a high quality healthcare for all, regardless of the country or the region of origin.
“The only way to ensure a better health for all is to consider a true approach to health in all policies of the Union, tackling the root causes of health problems, insisting on disease prevention, promoting healthier lifestyles, and eventually reducing health inequities.
“We need to invest in health and improve the health outcomes. This new approach would immediately and positively reflect on the level of health of our society. EU4Health should not limit its action to just preventing and healing diseases, or improving healthcare. It needs to invest in every aspect of our society that might negatively affect our health, such as environmental impacts, pollution, or food production. We have to promote healthier European lifestyles.”
S&D environment committee co-ordinator, Jytte Guteland MEP, said:
“The S&D Group welcomes this historically strong and comprehensive health strategy. With the adoption of the EU4Health programme - which is 10 times larger than previous health programmes - Europe is sending a clear signal that we are doing everything in our power to increase the protection of our citizens’ health.
“EU4Health strengthens the common mechanisms that can reduce inequalities and inequities in health, and instead promote better access to health care and contribute to the creation of the European Health Union. This is an important step in the direction to ensure that all people in the EU can benefit from high quality, accessible, safe, equal and affordable health care. The S&D Group fully stands behind the importance of promoting access to sexual and reproductive healthcare. This is a human right, and we will not allow anyone to try to rob the people of Europe of this freedom.
“We are happy to see that 20% of the resources under the programme has been reserved for health promotion and disease prevention measures. We also welcome that member states can perform stress testing of their national healthcare systems as a means to see what can possibly be further improved, as well as facilitate best practices.”