While the COVID-19 pandemic began posing a major public health threat to European countries, the EU was struggling to play a coordinating role, complementing national policies to face common challenges, such as a lack of sufficient healthcare organisation and provision. Since the beginning, European countries have responded differently to the pandemic depending on their specific needs (number of fatalities, percentage of older people or people infected, etc.), as well as the differences in aspects of national systems and, almost without exception, the country’s own interests. A key political lesson of this crisis is that further collaboration is required in Europe to face health challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in her first speech on the State of the Union at the European Parliament in Brussels (16 September 2020) announced that with the Italian Presidency of the G20 the Commission will organise a Global Health Summit in Italy to show that Europe is there to protect its citizens. The aim is to build a Health Union as the pandemic is not at its end and recovery is still in its very early stages. For this reason, the EU must act with responsibility and unity. To take stock of the proposal for a strengthened European Health Union, this study will focus on the key priorities on the EU health agenda with a focus on the main two which the European Commission will outline by the end of the year – the Cancer Plan and the Pharmaceutical Strategy.
N° of pages: 43
Authors: Maria Rosaria Della Porta, Eleonora Mazzoni