EU reflects on new European Health Union

European Commission
Read-out of the weekly meeting of the von der Leyen Commission by Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission, and Commissioner Stella Kyriakides.

The European Commission recapped the important steps it made with the European Health Union, following the creation of a common policy for health system across the bloc during the pandemic. The result was listed in a communication adopted by the Commission on Wednesday.

The mandate of the European Health Union started during the dramatic months of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing a strong response across the union. Following the end of the pandemic, the new health union used that difficult experience to create new protocols and safeguards that should ensure a strong response in case of future health crisis. The new Health Union received funding from the EU4Health programme.

One of the main pillars of the new health strategy is the newly-created Health Emergency and Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) that will help plan, coordinate and respond to major health crisis. HERA also works within a brand-new legal framework for action in case of health threat.

“During the Von der Leyen Commission, the EU came together to deliver a comprehensive effective response to the greatest health threat in a century – the COVID-19 pandemic,” Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, said.

“Drawing on the solidarity and resolve shown during the crisis, the EU has built in parallel a strong and resilient European Health Union for all its citizens. Our Health Union will continue to promote European innovation and competitiveness in the healthcare sector, so that the needs of patients are fully addressed. The EU will also continue to be a strong global partner and contributor to improving the health of people around the world,” he added.

In addition, the European Health Union developed a One Health strategy that encompasses human, animal and environmental health in order to better cope with another COVID-like event.

“Over the last 5 years, the way we work and cooperate in the area of health has changed fundamentally,” emphasised Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.

“The unity and solidarity that emerged when faced with the most difficult health crisis in modern times has led to the creation of a strong European Health Union. Its every pillar and action have one purpose: to put citizens and patients at the centre, protect their health and change their lives. Our citizens rightfully expected more in the area of health, and we are delivering. We have transformed our vision into reality, and will continue to develop our Health Union for our citizens in the coming years,” Commissioner Kyriakides added.

Other developments include the creation of the European Health Data Space (EHDS) for better use of data on medical research, the EU Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health to promote metal well-being and provide services in this important area. Finally, the EU funded with €4 billion the Beating Cancer Plan to help all stages of cancer treatments.

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