No dreams for a European Health Union without a triple WWW EU4Health Programme

A Well-resourced, Well-designed and Well-governed EU4Health programme is needed to improve health systems beyond COVID-19

An EU4Health Civil Society Alliance (CSA) call to the National governments, the European Commission and the European Parliament

Ahead of the trilogue negotiation process, public interest civil society organisations of the EU4Health Civil Society Alliance call on the national governments, European Parliament and the European Commission to make their best efforts during the upcoming, complex negotiations process, to ensure a well-resourced, well-designed and well-governed EU4Health Programme with meaningful involvement of civil society. Only such a strong EU4Health programme will steer the EU’s actions towards an ambitious but realistic European Health Union and provide a clear message for individual people who rely on the EU to put their health and well-being first as we rebuild our societies, post-COVID-19.

The EU4Health Programme proposal can play a fundamental role in improving public health, expanding  access to quality healthcare services, medicines and medical products while preventing diseases, reducing unfair and avoidable health inequalities and bringing innovation to our health systems beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

As the EU4Health Civil Society Alliance, we welcome the emphasis on the need for a reinforced budget, contrasting with the European Council cuts of July 2020.  We also appreciate the attention given to the crucial elements highlighted in our 10 guiding principles for an EU Health Programme.  These include meaningful civil society involvement in the design and governance of the Programme; focus on health promotion and prevention  – including both physical and mental health;  improvement of health literacy and digital health literacy; attention to communicable diseases as well as chronic non-communicable diseases and risk factors; solid governance and harmonisation with other EU policies and budgets; digital transformation (data and beyond); and strengthening of EU agencies especially the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA)

The EU must stand united behind a strong budget for long-term health action and the EU4Health programme represents a unique opportunity for improving our health systems. 

Negotiations on the EU4Health programme should not be weakened by hiding behind what Europe cannot do in the area of health, but rather should be aiming for a well-resourced, well-designed and well-governed EU4Health programme to achieve the desired, shared goal of providing better protection for people living in the EU against health threats and challenges, beyond COVID-19. People’s health and well-being must be at the heart of EU recovery plans.