MEPs have voted on the EU’s health action programme (“EU4Health”). The current programme runs until the end of the year; EU4Health is the successor programme for 2021-2027. In the negotiations on the Multi-Annual Financial Framework, the European Parliament tripled the proposed funding for EU4Health to €5.1 billion. The programme will not only finance actions against cross-border health threats such as the Corona pandemic, but also prevention measures and tools to strengthen health systems. MEPs are also debating the transparency and access around possible corona vaccines. After the plenary vote, negotiations with the Council and the European Commission can begin.
Tilly Metz MEP, Greens/EFA Member of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee, said: “We need to make the EU’s health programme the backbone of our not just our fight against the corona pandemic but also for preventing threats to public health and a key to access to adequate healthcare for all. The cuts in EU4Health called for by the Council were irresponsible, especially in times of pandemic. It is a success that the European Parliament has tripled the amount envisaged by the Council in the budget negotiations.”
“While it is in principle welcome that the European Commission has concluded contracts with various companies for future vaccines, there is a serious lack of transparency about them. Now it is of utmost importance that liability and indemnification clauses, licensing rights and clinical data are disclosed and closely examined to ensure that we get safe and effective vaccines against this virus for all. There must be no exclusive deals. Vaccination strategy must be coordinated at European-level. Distribution must give priority to risk groups, while at the same time we must not lose sight of people with disabilities and people in difficult housing conditions.”
Michèle Rivasi MEP, Greens/EFA Member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and shadow rapporteur for EU4Health, commented: “We have been attentive to set certain priorities for EU4Health, especially by supporting the capacity building of pharmaceutical establishments to produce essential drugs that may be lacking in Europe, and the creation of a European Cancer Institute, whose mission will be to collect existing and future national cancer registries. Or on “stress tests” to check the robustness of a European country’s health services in the event of a health crisis. Prevention is essential.”