Health

European Parliament gives green light to European Health Union

Strasbourg

The European Union must also become a Health Union. That is the opinion of the European Parliament, which adopted its position on Wednesday on two proposals, including to expand the powers of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). This body should also start operating in the field of non-infectious diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and mental illness. There is also a need for greater cooperation across borders in the event of new threats to public health. The European Parliament calls for a more resilient EU in the field of health.

In the first proposal, a majority of MEPs indicated that the mandate of ECDC (‘European RIVM’, known for the corona color map of countries) should be increased, because this benefits public health. Currently, the center only has powers when it comes to infectious diseases such as Covid-19. This should be extended to diseases such as cancer, diabetes and respiratory diseases such as asthma. But from now on, mental illness should also fall under ECDC’s competences.

EU countries work together within ECDC. They share information and help each other when it comes to disease control. The European Union must be prepared for a future disaster such as the corona crisis, which is one of the reasons why enlargement is necessary. “Our proposals would improve cooperation between Member States and the European Commission, ECDC and the Health Security Committee,” said rapporteur Joanna Kopcińska. The Polish reported to Parliament on ECDC’s mandate and proposed to promote the exchange of information, expertise and best practice.

The rapporteur for the second proposal – on cross-border threats – argued for ‘one health approach across all European policies’, which should guide the whole European health system. If it were up to her, one common EU purchasing policy for medical products should become the norm, so that more exchanges between EU countries can be increased. ‘I am fully in favor of a joint purchasing procedure for medical products becoming the norm. When it comes to negotiations with industry, the EU is stronger when it speaks with one voice on behalf of all Member States,” said rapporteur Véronique Trillet-Lenoir.

Parliament also believes that national care systems will cooperate more with each other, for example by exchanging information and knowledge. It is also the intention that there will be far-reaching cooperation in border areas with regard to health. Thanks to the proposals, a European Health Union can be built.

MEP Esther de Lange (CDA) negotiated the second proposal on behalf of the Christian Democrats in the European Parliament. She is optimistic. “Before corona, this was not on the minds of national administrators, but now everyone is aware of the need for cross-border cooperation in the field of health,” says the Dutchman. ‘We also ensure that joint exercises in border regions are no longer seen as an extra but as an essential part.’ After this vote, Parliament will start negotiations with the European member states. De Lange expects full commitment from all health ministers. ‘ In the past, people sometimes looked away when it came to European healthcare cooperation. That is really no longer possible .’

European Parliament gives green light to European Health Union
Source link European Parliament gives green light to European Health Union

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