A public health view of the EU4Health Programme

EPHA analysis | Download our 39 amendments proposed to the European Parliament 

The European Commission has announced an ambitious proposal for the new EU4health programme so that EU countries can better cooperate and coordinate in times of crisis and to strengthen the EU’s capacity to respond effectively to new cross-border health threats. After consulting EPHA’s members and following it own analysis of the European Commission Proposal and its Annexes as well as the draft report from the European Parliament Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), EPHA has formulated 39 amendments to the programme, currently being discussed in the European Parliament.

By implementing EPHA’s 39 proposals, the EU4health Programme can become the cornerstone of the European answer to the global  COVID19 pandemic which has put European solidarity and health systems’ capacity to the test. The EU4health Programme has the potential to tackle the long-lasting lack of significant tools and resources to develop a common policy addressing public health and care, which would place shared interest above national demands for the ultimate benefit of  Europeans’ health, especially those from disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. The EU4Health programme has the potential to upgrade single or small-scale actions of solidarity which different countries have shown, demonstrating the importance of community participation and empowerment

The Coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated and exposed the vulnerability of our healthcare systems, our societies and our health. Severe disruption of care for people living with chronic, communicable or rare conditions, the non-communicable disease (NCD) epidemic,  shortages and unaffordable costs of healthcare and medicines, inadequacy of resources and poor health system organisation, slow uptake of emerging technologies, insufficient and unequal access to prevention, treatment and healthcare services, the emerging burden of poor mental health, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and environmental risk factors, are but a few examples of the challenges affecting the health and well-being of millions of people living in Europe.

The EU4Health Programme should adapt to this new reality guided by its core principles of unity and solidarity. To this end, the EU4Health programme has the potential to provide a united response to the current and future crises by offering a common vision, a policy framework and rapid response mechanisms. A strong EU4health programme is an essential European tool to deal effectively with the COVID-19 aftermath, ensure access to care, reduce the damage of future pandemics and tackle current and future cross-border challenges.

The 39 EPHA amendments highlight the collective voice of our member associations, all united and interested in more and not less public health in Europe, and particularly in a strong EU Health programme.

To this end, the proposed EPHA amendments aim to:

  • Include the commercial determinants of health and one health concept in the Programme, in line with World Health Organization terminology
  • Ensure that the EU4Health programme offers a strong European vision for health prevention and promotion
  • Suggest a European strategic chronic disease framework to support Member States’ action addressing the commercial determinants of health;
  •  Ensure affordable access to medicinal products care and prevention services
  • Implement in practice the Health in All Policies approach by compulsory health impact assessments
  • Tackle the cross-cutting health aspects and connections with other Commission policies, including the European Green Deal and Horizon Europe
  • Address soaring health inequalities
  • Ensure meaningful involvement of public interest non-governmental health organisations to implement the policies 

EPHA and its members are looking forward to continue the dialogue about the EU4Health programme with the European Parliament, national governments and authorities as well as the European Parliament to ensure the potential of this unprecedented opportunity for public health is realised.

EPHA members have also proposed amendments to the new EU4Health programme. Read their contributions below

Association of European Cancer Leagues

The Association of European Cancer Leagues highlights the following key points:

The focus of the specific objective should be to implement proven, effective practice as supported by the best available evidence;

  • The general objective of programme should recognise and address health inequalities and health literacy;
  • Duplication with other funding programmes at the Union level and with activities already performed by external actors and stakeholders should be avoided;
  • The indicators of the programme should be aligned with those agreed upon under the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Conflicts of interest (intellectual, professional and financial) regarding the engagement of stakeholders towards the development of actions supported by the programme should be mitigated as far as is possible.

Download the ECL amendments here

European Heart Network

Read EHN’s proposed amendments here

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