Following the shortcomings in the health systems of the various EU countries revealed by the Covid 19 crisis, the European Parliament considers that the €1.7 billion proposed by the European Council will hardly be enough to implement the new health programme. MEPs want to increase the budget to €9.4 billion as previously proposed by the European Commission.
On 28 May 2020, the Commission presented a new independent EU Health Programme for 2021-2027 as part of the Recovery Plan to build resilient health systems in the EU by tackling cross-border health threats, making medicines available and affordable and strengthening health systems.
This new health programme is ambitious and necessary. To achieve the programme’s objectives, a report adopted by the committee on the environment, public health and food safety proposes, among other things, a stronger focus on disease prevention; reducing health inequalities; digitising healthcare through the creation and implementation of the European e-Health dossier; tackling vaccine resistance in the EU; strengthen the EU’s fight against cancer in synergy with the European Cancer Plan; prevent and manage chronic diseases; take more specific action to address drug shortages and make better use of antimicrobials; and promote health by tackling health risk factors – such as the harmful use of alcohol and tobacco.
Parliament is expected to vote on this report at the latest during the 11-12 November plenary session, after which Parliament is ready to start negotiations with member states so that the programme can be implemented from the beginning of 2021.