Procedure : 2020/2691(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0221/2020

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 08/07/2020 - 21
CRE 08/07/2020 - 21

Votes :

Texts adopted :

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<TitreSuite>to wind up the debate on the statements by the Council and the Commission</TitreSuite>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>

<Titre>on the EU’s public health strategy post-COVID-19</Titre>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Peter Liese</Depute>

<Commission>{PPE}on behalf of the PPE Group</Commission>


See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0216/2020


European Parliament resolution on the EU’s public health strategy post-COVID-19


The European Parliament,

 having regard to Article 168 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

 having regard to Article 114 of the TFEU,

 having regard to Article 35 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

 having regard to its resolution of 17 April 2020 on EU coordinated action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences[1],

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the COVID-19 crisis has shown that health threats do not respect borders and why a more coordinated European response is necessary;

B. whereas the TFEU (Article 168) and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Article 35) recognise that ‘a high level of human health protection shall be ensured in the definition and implementation of all Union policies and activities’ and, to that end, ‘the Commission, in its proposals envisaged in paragraph 1 concerning health, safety, environmental protection and consumer protection, will take as a base a high level of protection, taking account in particular of any new development based on scientific facts. Within their respective powers, the European Parliament and the Council will also seek to achieve this objective’ in relation to the establishment and the functioning of the internal market (Article 114 of the TFEU);

C. whereas the TFEU (Article 168) explicitly recognises a significant role for the Union that ‘shall be directed towards improving public health, preventing physical and mental illness and diseases, and obviating sources of danger to physical and mental health. Such action shall cover the fight against the major health scourges, by promoting research into their causes, their transmission and their prevention, as well as health information and education, and monitoring, early warning of and combating serious cross-border threats to health’;

D. whereas Article 168 of the TFEU stipulates that ‘a high level of human health protection shall be ensured in the definition and implementation of all Community policies and activities’, and whereas the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled on numerous occasions that the EU can pursue public health objectives through internal market measures;

E. whereas it is within the scope of this competence that the EU has worked on improving public health, tackling serious cross-border threats, preventing and managing human and animal diseases, mitigating risks to human health and harmonising health strategies between Member States;

F. whereas the setting up of specialised agencies such as the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) exemplifies the EU’s increasing commitment to health policy;

G. whereas the programme ‘EU4Health’, with a proposed budget of EUR 9.4 billion, is a strong indication of the increasing role being played by the EU in public health policy;

H. whereas in spite of all of the work already being done at EU level, there is still significant room for manoeuvre for the European Union to deliver much more on health policy within the existing Treaties; whereas the health provisions of the Treaties are still largely under-used in terms of the purposes they could be used to achieve[2];

I. whereas it is widely recognised that access to cross-border healthcare and better coordination and promotion of best practices between Member States can bring considerable benefits[3];

J. whereas our Europe is built on subsidiarity and solidarity;

K. whereas cross-border threats can only be addressed together;

L. whereas the European Parliament has underlined that the pandemic knows no borders or ideologies, and that it requires the cooperation and solidarity of the entire international community and a strengthening of the UN system, and the World Health Organization (WHO) in particular;

1. Calls for the European institutions and the Member States to draw the right lessons from the COVID-19 crisis and engage in far stronger cooperation in the area of health, as health threats such as COVID-19 do not respect borders; calls, therefore, for the immediate implementation of the European Union for Health;

2. Emphasises that the Treaty on European Union (TEU) allows for much more European action than has been taken in recent years, and asks the Commission to examine the possibilities for action and the Member States to look at the options more positively than they have in the past;

3. Expresses its request that the future European health policy should put the physical, mental and social well-being of citizens at the centre of any action, based on Article 3 of the TEU, which puts the well-being of all Europeans at the heart of European policy, of innovation and science-based decisions and of the use of medical progress to improve everybody’s daily lives;

4. Strongly supports the health in all politics (HIAP) approach and its full implementation as a response to the cross-sectoral nature of public health and aims to achieve the integration of health aspects horizontally, in all relevant policies, such as agriculture, transport, international trade, research, the environment and climate;

5. Points out that the COVID-19 crisis is not over and additional infections and fatalities will occur if we do not exercise a prudent approach; supports the Commission Action Plan on vaccination and asks the Commission and Member States for a swift implementation; strongly emphasises that a vaccine and/or a therapy against COVID-19 must be accessible for all European citizens and for patients in the rest of the world; points out that the European Union should call for dialogue and cooperation, but also have a plan B in place if third countries will not be able to share the vaccine and/or therapy or their respective knowledge; asks the Commission and the Member States to consider forced licences and trade measures in this case;

6. Believes that for the future, models of public private partnerships like the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority need to be established in order to react faster in a similar crisis;

7. Urges the establishment of a better European pandemic response by, among other things, the strengthening of the ECDC and the EMA, and asks the Commission to reflect on whether a regulation on cross-border health threats would be legally possible and helpful in this context;

8. Calls for better transposition of the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive, especially in the light of the CJEU case law, to clarify the main concepts of patient mobility, reimbursement procedures and prior authorisation;

9. Ask for the multiannual financial framework (MFF) and the Recovery Plan to put much more emphasis on health, and commits to reaching agreement swiftly on the EU4Health programme and the health components of the Recovery Plan; requests the establishment of a dedicated EU fund to help Member States to strengthen their hospital infrastructures and health services;

10. Points out the fundamental role of health research, and asks for more synergies with the research carried out in the Member States, as well as for the establishment of an EU health academy network as part of a global health plan;

11. Asks for an ambitious and clear regulatory framework for European businesses, as well as for dedicated resources to science and health research, as a thriving and technically advanced European health industry and a competitive research community is of vital interest;

12. Strongly welcomes the commitment of the German Presidency of the Council to address the shortages of medicines and other products such as personal protective equipment, and asks the Council and the Commission to act immediately, taking account of Parliament’s position on these issues; calls, in the course of this year, for short-term measures to be implemented and for long-term measures to be agreed upon at the very least;

13. Underlines the important role of European industry in pharmaceuticals and other health-related areas and supports the promotion of EU dimension companies incentivising innovation and production within the EU, and lowering the EU’s dependency on third countries by diversifying supply chains, manufacturing capacities for the production of these products, as well as pooling and coordinating digital manufacturing capabilities, such as 3D printing;

14. Encourages all countries to join the World Trade Organization’s Pharmaceutical Tariff Elimination Agreement, urges that its scope be extended to all pharmaceutical and medicine products and supports the EU maintaining a robust European intellectual property (IP) system to encourage research and development and manufacturing in Europe, and to ensure that Europe remains an innovator and a world leader;

15. Supports the Commission’s plan to present a pharmaceuticals strategy at the end of this year and urges the Commission to stick to this time schedule;

16. Endorses the Commission’s plan to present a Beating Cancer Plan and commits to engaging, inter alia, with its non-permanent committee in the fight against cancer;

17. Strongly urges the Council to agree as soon as possible on the health technology assessment (HTA) proposal and seeks a positive outcome for the trilogue negotiations by the end of the year;

18. Asks the Commission to present, by 1 July 2021 the latest, the following proposals after a careful legal analysis and an impact assessment:

a)  a legal framework to encourage innovation in creating new antibiotics because we desperately need new products;

b)  a proposal on a master plan for e-health, including concrete, and, if necessary, legislative proposals on e-health, in particular the issue of compatibility between Member States’ systems;

c)  measures to mitigate the impact of the significant disparities in the capacity of healthcare systems in terms of the availability of medical professionals;

d)  an updated action plan on rare and neglected diseases;

e)  an EU-wide action plan on mental health;

f)  a European carers strategy;

g)  a new Action Plan on the EU Health Workforce, as the current plan is due to expire in 2020, that takes into account the experience of the pandemic to provide healthcare professionals with a new, adequate strategic and operational framework;

h)  a legislative proposal to increase patients’ safety, in particular when it comes to pharmaceuticals by, among other things, proposing a drug facts box that includes the most important information for patients;

i)  a proposal on how to improve the independent financing of European patient groups;

j)  a proposal to create incentives for the production and consumption of European agricultural products which contribute to a healthy lifestyle, for example by reducing VAT on fruits and vegetables;

k)  an action plan to improve the transparency of health information and combat disinformation;

19. Strongly emphasises the international dimension of health care; reiterates the important role of the WHO and regrets the behaviour of the US administration in this regard, but also asks the WHO to be open to improvement, for example when it comes to the involvement of Taiwan;

20. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.



[1] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0054.

[2] Study entitled ‘Unlocking the potential of the EU treaties: An article-by-article analysis of the scope for action’, European Parliamentary Research Service, published on 28 May 2020,

[3] Study entitled ‘Europe’s two trillion euro dividend: Mapping the Cost of Non-Europe, 2019-24’, European Parliamentary Research Service, published on 18 April 2019,

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