Zoltán Massay-Kosubek

State of the Union and Health

Genval, 13th September 2017. Despite the specific demand of civil society to prioritise health and the call of more than 70 MEPs, health did not make it to be mentioned by President Juncker in the State of the Union speech. He expressed himself strongly on equality of opportunities and mentioned that children in Romania and Italy should have the same, unconditional access to vital vaccination without ‘if’ but one can not tackle EU wide inequalities without implementing a strong EU public health prevention and protection policy.

Jean-Claude Juncker

EU-level action in the area of health is crucial for the long-term, sustainable future of Europe. However, in the White Paper on the Future of Europe, the option to “do less” on some policy areas is contemplated; this could lead to less EU action on health after 2020 – a great loss for Europe’s citizens.

Health is a core value for the European electorate: when asked recently where they would like EU budget to be spent, the most common answer was public health with an increase of +5 points from 2015; it was also at the top priority in 11 Member States. (1) Furthermore, according to the recent Eurobarometer survey commissioned by the European Parliament, 70% of European citizens want the EU to do more for health. (2)

EU health policy has a crucial added value in complementing national actions, with significant achievements that have enhanced citizens’ daily lives. Today’s major challenges to health and wellbeing – including the financial and demographic pressure to the sustainability of healthcare systems, chronic and rare diseases, as well as antimicrobial resistance and pandemics – cannot be addressed by any single national government alone.

MEP′s call for continued EU engagement in healthcare
Brussels, 12 September 2017, European Parliament

More than 70 Members of the European Parliament from all major political groups signed a statement callingfor continued EU action in the field of health and enhanced cooperation between EU Member States.

The statement was put forward as a follow-up initiative toarecent event of the MEP Interest Group on Access to Healthcare and the Patient Access Partnership (PACT), entitled “Future Scenarios for the EU: What role for Healthcare?”which addressed the role of healthcare in future scenarios for the EU and the possibilities to strengthen and improve it.

MEP Statement on the future engagement of the EU in healthcare

A robust, coherent and ambitious future EU health policy can effectively support Member States whilst respecting their competences, and yield national macroeconomic benefits by saving lives, preventing disease, and increasing productivity.

There has never been a stronger case, or a more vital moment for Europe, to commit to working together on health which is so close to citizens’ hearts. The EU can offer a vision of the future which puts its people in the centre and makes a tangible difference to their lives. Let’s hope that remaining actions of the outgoing Juncker Commission during the current political mandate will speak lauder than thousand words and will ensure strong EU policy on health.

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