The EU Health Coalition calls for Health Ministers to keep a pivotal role in the EU Recovery Instrument negotiations
COVID-19 has shown the devastating impact that serious health threats can have not only on the health and well-being of our citizens, but also on our economies. The current crisis clearly demonstrates that healthy populations and economic growth are interdependent and mutually reinforcing.
Health is now at the top of the European political agenda – and this momentum must not be lost. Investments in public health and healthcare systems will not only ensure that a similar health crisis never again impacts European countries in such a profound way, but can also play an important role in the economic recovery of Europe.
As a Coalition of 34 organisations working on health, the EU Health Coalition warmly welcomes the European Commission’s proposal for a Recovery Instrument, to be adopted on the 27th of May to mitigate the severity of the economic and social impacts of the crisis. An ambitious investment in European health systems, including in a European Health Data Space, in a strong health research ecosystem and digital health infrastructure, should be a key part of the Recovery Instrument as it would both foster future European research and innovation and improve the responsiveness and resilience of health systems.
We want to stress the crucial role that the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) should play in the negotiations of the new plan. Recognising not only the importance of a healthy population to a healthy economy in the recovery period and beyond, but also the importance of the health sector for the European economy, Health Ministers should be involved also in monitoring and coordinating the implementation phase of the plan. Echoing the recently issued Commission Country Specific Recommendations, which for the first time proposed health recommendations to all Member States, strengthening healthcare systems will be crucial in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and in the aftermath. It is therefore paramount that Health and Economy Ministers work together in the negotiation and implementation of the Recovery Plan.
Collaboration between all sectors and actors is even more imperative now to ensure our healthcare systems can function to their best ability in saving human lives. We must not let the weight of COVID-19 dissipate without positive change – health must be firmly preserved as a key priority also beyond the crisis.
The EU Health Coalition was created after the first ever EU Health Summit, which took place in November 2018, in order to promote a shared vision of health in Europe, based on jointly developed recommendations. The purpose is to ensure health remains high on Europe’s political agenda and bring the necessary changes to address the unprecedented challenges driven by an ageing population and the increased prevalence of chronic diseases that healthcare systems and citizens across Europe are facing. The EU Health Coalition is composed of patient organisations, EU research-oriented medical societies, industry organisations, providers, regional and local health authorities and other relevant stakeholders that share a common vision for health.