On Friday, 10 of July 2020, the European Parliament adopted a resolution which sets out the principles of the EU’s future public health strategy post-COVID-19.
This important step follows the European Commission’s proposal for a 9.4 billion EUR EU4Health Programme for 2021-2027 as part of the Next Generation EU Recovery Plan.
In the resolution adopted last Friday, the European Parliament underlines the need to draw the right lesson from the COVID-19 crisis and to establish stronger cooperation in the area of health in the European Union, to become a European Health Union.
What is in there for mental health?
The resolution recognises mental health as a fundamental human right; it calls for an EU Action Plan on mental health 2021-2027, with equal attention paid to the psychosocial and biomedical factors of mental ill-health. The resolution also underlines the long-term health effects of COVID-19, including the impact on mental health and people with disabilities. It raises the importance of health and safety at work and calls for a Strategic Framework for Health and Safety. Among many other positive asks, the resolution calls for the implementation of Health in All Policies and adequate funding of the healthcare system. It pushes for the well-being indicators and targets within the country-specific recommendations under the European Semester. Finally, the Parliament calls for a stronger role of both the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.
MHE strongly welcomes this resolution and calls on the European Commission to deliver a long-term vision for mental health in Europe in the form of an EU Action Plan on mental health (2021-2027).
The EP resolution on the EU’s future public health strategy is not the first concrete ask formulated towards a concerted EU action on mental health. So far, the Council Conclusions on the Economy of Wellbeing has invited the European Commission to develop a comprehensive Mental Health Strategy for the Union. On several occasions, MEPs called on the European Commission to turn promises into action and to boost mental health policy and to put it at the heart of EU policy-making.
The European Parliament’s resolution is a strong and united voice of the European citizens’ representatives. It adds to the Council Conclusions and should not be ignored by the European Commission.