Providing the highest standards of public health for all Europeans is a priority, agreed health ministers affiliated with the Party of European Socialists (PES). They signed a declaration titled “For a progressive health agenda today”.

Laying out their priorities for joint action, the declaration recalls that timely access to affordable, preventive and curative healthcare of good quality is fundamental in Europe’s efforts to obtain the highest level of social protection.

As outlined by the Standard Eurobarometer 87 of Spring 2017, one in five Europeans consider health as their most important concern.

The declaration calls for improved access to affordable and timely healthcare for patients, as well as to protect and reinforce public services to deliver the highest quality care and curative treatments for those in need.

The PES ministers – the health ministers from Estonia, Portugal, Luxembourg and Sweden, also stressed that public health objectives should be part of policies across all sectors, so as to ensure a healthier environment for the citizens and contribute to the wellbeing of our societies.

“A high level of health protection is essential to the wellbeing of every society,” said Jevgeni Ossinovski, chair of the network of PES health ministers. “This means that our citizens must have timely access to preventive and curative health services – and crucially that these must be universally available at socially affordable prices.

“Most health and medical services are the competence of individual countries and not the EU,” he added. “We recognise this, but we also see many opportunities for voluntary cooperation supported by the EU. There are also areas where acting jointly at a European level is vital for us to achieve our goals, such as in cross-border trade and advertising.”

Ossinovski also noted that the broad priorities in the PES declaration are “the backbone of our progressive health agenda”.