EU4Health: MEPs welcome proposal for dedicated EU health programme 


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  • New dedicated 9.4 billion EUR EU4Health Programme 
  • New Farm to Fork Strategy must now be transformed into EU legislation 

The new programme is an opportunity to ensure that EU health systems can face future health threats, said MEPs in a debate with Commissioner Kyriakides on the new Commission proposal.

On Thursday, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety welcomed Ms. Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, to a debate on the EU4Health Programme and the Farm to Fork Strategy. The Commissioner underlined that both health and the environment must play a much stronger role in the EU in the future, as business as usual is not an option.

EU4Health Programme

The Commissioner presented the new dedicated 9.4 billion EUR EU4Health Programme for 2021-2027 to build resilient health systems in the EU by tackling cross-border health threats, making medicines available and affordable, and strengthening health systems. She presented it as a paradigm shift in the way the EU deals with health and said the Commission’s proposal is a 23-fold increase in health financing compared to the 2014-2020 budget.

MEPs welcomed a dedicated health programme as part of the modified EU long-term budget, which Parliament has long been requesting, and commended the level of ambition in the proposal.

Several MEPs mentioned they saw the new programme as an important opportunity and believed it should fill the gaps revealed by COVID-19 and ensure that the EU’s health systems can face future health threats. The increased availability of funds should also lead to a discussion on new priorities, including cancer and antimicrobial resistance. The Commissioner promised to work closely with Parliament on this.

Some MEPs asked how to ensure prevention and not only crisis preparedness would be the focus of EU4Health and said that health also needed to be a priority in other policy areas.

Farm to Fork Strategy

The Commissioner also presented the Farm to Fork Strategy, a central element of the European Green Deal, and had her first debate with MEPs on the Commission’s proposal which came out on 20 May 2020. The Farm to Fork Strategy aims at offering healthy, high quality and affordable diets to European consumers. It highlights the need for enhanced sustainability in all stages of the food chain and involving all actors.

Many MEPs underlined that the EU needs to be ambitious on the Farm to Fork Strategy, which must be transformed into EU legislation and ensure that the CAP reflects the Farm to Fork ambitions. You can read more reactions from the ENVI Chair Pascal Canfin on the Strategy here.