„This agreement shows the EU’s determination to protect the health of its citizens. This programme, with its budget and scope, gives our Union the tools and capacity to better prepare for and cope with future health crises. At the same time, it allows a strong focus on long-term health issues, such as cancer and mental health. I expect that EU4Health will have a clear EU valued added in complementing member states health policies.”
Jens Spahn, German Federal Minister of Health
The negotiations on the upcoming EU4Health Programme have reached a critical point. On 14 December, the European Parliament and the Council formulated a provisional agreement on the final shape of the programme worth 5.1 billion EUR, as part of the EU’s long-term budget (2021-2027).
The EU4Health programme will boost the health sector during the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and contribute to building more resilient healthcare systems in Europe. The programme includes allocation of 20% of funding to prevention and health promotion, support to the global commitments and health initiatives by international organisations, in particular the World Health Organization, and increase in the use of digital tools and services in the health area. Among other important objectives agreed, a prominent place had been dedicated to mental health. The agreement ensures that the programme will address long-term public health issues such as the improvement of mental health and the reduction of health inequalities.
Another positive development, which the EU4Health Civil Society Alliance strongly advocated for, is the active participation of the third sector in the implementation of the Health Programme’s framework. As reported by MEP Veronique Triller-Lenoir, one of the European Parliament negotiators, in comparison with previous health programs, significant advances have been made on the role of civil society organisations and the role of the European Parliament. The co-legislators agreed on a new article which establishes the obligation to consult NGOs in the context of the development of annual work programs and to present the results of these consultations to the European Parliament each year.
Mental Health Europe strongly welcomes this provisional agreement and calls on the Member States to endorse it. We hope that this ambitious EU4Health Programme will significantly contribute to strengthening mental health in Europe and will deliver on the promise of implementing health in all policies.
We thank our strong allies in the European Parliament, who made this outcome possible by continuously working on this file, namely MEP Cristian Bușoi, MEP Veronique Triller-Lenoir and MEP Michèle Rivasi, and especially members of the EP Coalition for Mental Health and Wellbeing MEP Sara Cerdas and MEP Kateřina Konečná.
In terms of the next steps, the provisional deal still needs to be approved by Parliament as a whole as well as the Council.