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Is the European Health Union ready for the challenges of the 21st century?

Health & healthcare / DISCUSSION PAPER
Elizabeth Kuiper , Danielle Brady

Date: 12/09/2023
The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare national health systems' unpreparedness and structural weaknesses. It also emphasised the disparities in national capabilities among European countries and the lack of a common European approach against cross-border health threats.

As we enter a post-pandemic era, this Discussion Paper assesses the proposals under the European Health Union and sets out recommendations to address the identified shortcomings. These include:

  1. Adopting a more holistic approach by appointing a Vice President for Well-being.
  2. Strengthening crisis preparedness by elevating HERA to an agency.
  3. Promoting access and affordability by extending joint procurement.
  4. Strengthening the European health workforce by tackling shortages and addressing skills gaps.
  5. Mitigating the cost of inaction by increasing investment in health.
  6. Ensuring planetary health by promoting a Green European Health Union.
  7. Promoting Europe’s status as a global leader in health data by harmonising health data regulations with the European Health Data Space.
  8. Safeguarding the EU’s strategic autonomy by implementing the Versailles Declaration and strengthening supply chain resilience.
  9. Building on the EU’s Global Health Strategy by exploring global partnerships.

This Paper builds on the findings of the European Policy Centre’s Task Force on the European Health Union. The multistakeholder Task Force was held under the auspices of the EPC's Social Europe and Well-being programme with the kind support of Amgen, MSD, Johnson&Johnson, SITRA and EIT Health.

Read the full paper here.
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