It is time to invest in Europe as a true research and innovation hub: EU Health Coalition statement on adopting a future-oriented Multi-annual Financial Framework 2021 – 2027
The EU Health Coalition welcomes President von der Leyen’s proposal for a European Health Union, with a consolidated EU4Health programme, stronger health institutions and a new European agency for biomedical advanced research and development. It is time to invest in Europe as a true research and innovation hub. Therefore, we call on the European Parliament to make its voice heard and strongly defend EU support for health research and innovation (R&I) and EU readiness for future health crises.
The recent pandemic has exerted, and will continue to exert, a profound impact on the European society and economy. In particular, it has exacerbated the existing dysfunctionalities of national healthcare systems. At the same time, it showcased the added value of the European biomedical and health technologies and relevant research and innovation.
The outbreak of COVID-19 strengthened the case for ambitious actions at EU level supporting healthcare systems resilience. These should have innovation-welcoming infrastructures that ready them for other potential new health emergencies.
The Commission’s proposal for a Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027, in May, reflected this ambition for an innovative and competitive health research landscape in Europe. The €9.4 billion envelope for a new standalone EU4Health programme, and the €94.4 billion budget for implementing the Horizon Europe programme, were tangible proof of the ambition shown.
Unfortunately, the initial euphoria in the healthcare community quickly turned to disappointment when, in July, the European Council agreed to reduce the EU4Health budget to €1.7 billion and the Horizon Europe €80.9 billion (where its health cluster, under the current repartition, would be allocated €6.1 billion only). Such reductions will not help the EU achieve its stated long-term objectives for more resilient healthcare systems and more impactful, collaborative and transnational health R&I. They will neither aid crisis preparedness nor assist in implementation of EU health policies in the Member States.
Τhe EU Health Coalition urges the European Parliament to negotiate a future-oriented MFF, in the context of the current negotiations. This should include ring-fenced EU4Health and Horizon Europe budgets that help implement EU health policies and echo Europe’s ambition for biomedical and health related R&I.
This pandemic has presented EU policy makers with an unprecedented opportunity to make real change; one that should not be wasted. Health is wealth and now is the time to seize this opportunity.
The EU Health Coalition was created following the first-ever EU Health Summit, in November 2018. The Coalition promotes a shared vision of health in Europe, based on jointly developed recommendations. The purpose is to ensure that health remains high on the political agenda and to champion the changes required to address the unprecedented challenges that an ageing population and an increasing prevalence of chronic diseases pose to healthcare systems and citizens.
The EU Health Coalition is composed of patient organisations, EU research-oriented medical societies, industry organisations, healthcare providers, regional and local health authorities and other relevant stakeholders, who all share a common vision. To find out more about the work of the EU Health Coalition, please visit our website here.