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The power of pandemics to change the world

Elizabeth Kuiper , Danielle Brady

Date: 24/11/2022

The EU’s power in the field of health has gained much political attention since the onset of Covid-19. The impact of the pandemic placed the topic high on the EU’s political agenda resulting in a more coordinated approach to health.

Two and a half years later, that coordinated approach has been hailed as a success. But the current permacrisis, spurred on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and rising inflation, threatens the political recognition of health. The lessons learnt from the pandemic should not be forgotten. Instead, they should be used by member states to shape the future of EU health policy, guarantee quality and affordable healthcare, and address shortages in the health workforce.

This Jubilee Think Piece shows the link between health policies and Europe’s global role. As we prepare to celebrate the EPC 25th anniversary, this series of publications paves the way to our Jubilee Conference, which will be held in Brussels on Thursday, 1 December.

To strengthen Europe’s health leadership, this paper argues that member states should strive to make the European Health Union a reality. This represents an opportunity for increased cooperation among European countries and a way to reinforce EU health power on the global stage. The Union’s coordinated approach to health should place the EU at the forefront in terms of research and innovation and enhance its strategic position in post-pandemic negotiations. 

Only if member states show the political will to build the European Health Union will the EU be able to improve the resilience of healthcare systems in Europe. Member states should not be so quick to forget the added value of EU cooperation in reaching this target and the economic and social benefits of a healthy population.

Read the full paper here.

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