The unprecedented global Covid-19 pandemic has taken the lives of many thousands of people worldwide. In the face of this formidable challenge, the EU’s 27 national healthcare systems have shown their fragility and weaknesses, but also the absolute necessity to accelerate the 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.
In response to the S&Ds pressing demands, and taking inspiration from our position paper: A European Health Union. Increasing EU competence in health - coping with Covid-19 and looking to the future, the European Commission has launched the ambitious EU4Health programme.
Work has just started to increase cooperation between states, make our healthcare systems more resilient, co-ordinate the fair and equal distribution of vaccines and treatments, and most importantly ensure access to quality healthcare for all.
Hence, the S&D Group has decided to organise a webinar - ‘A Strong and Inclusive European Health Union’ on Tuesday 1 December at 15:00 - with an open and inclusive discussion including high-level speakers: EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and health ministers Mr. Salvador Illa Roca from Spain, Mr. Roberto Speranza from Italy, and Ms. Lena Hallengren from Sweden.
The debate will also be enriched with interventions from stakeholders and citizens on the topic of how to create a real European Health Union, how it should look and what the prerogatives and advantages would be.
S&D president Iratxe García Pérez, said:
“By now it is clear for all that the European Union was not ready to face a pandemic like the Covid-19 one. We have already learnt a lot in the last eight months, and member states are co-ordinating the response; for example with the procurement and distribution of vaccines. However, we need to make sure that an effective and fair system is put in place.
“This is why my Group already called last May for a European Health Union. There is now a Commission proposal on the table, and we want to analyse how to make the most of it with experts and stakeholders. We want to make sure that there is an equal access to quality and affordable health care - including medicines and treatments - everywhere in the EU.”