Following today’s vote in the plenary, the S&D Group expresses its deep satisfaction for pushing forward the concept of a European Health Union which includes many concrete proposals to improve the response at European and National level to COVID-19, any future pandemics and other health challenges.
S&D negotiator and spokesperson in the environment committee, Jytte Guteland, said:
“We are proud that the European Parliament has backed our idea of a European Health Union. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a tragedy for all EU countries, and we will continue to work relentlessly to strengthen the Union and the EU’s health capacities to prevent future crises and react jointly in a more effective way.
“This is a first success, and we now want the Commission to react and bring the European Health Union to life.
“We are particularly happy that the resolution, just approved by an overwhelming majority of the EU Parliament, stems mainly from the position paper the S&D Group has recently adopted.
“For the S&D Group, a European Health Union means stronger health agencies, reinforced joint procurement mechanisms, and minimum healthcare standards as everybody has a fundamental right to health. This should also apply for the same level of health and safety at work.
“We’ve also fought hard to include stress tests of national healthcare systems, to be carried out by the member states, in order to identify possible weaknesses, as well as best practices, in case we have to fight a second wave of COVID-19 or a new pandemic.
“We all hope that treatments and vaccines against COVID-19 will soon be a reality. We must ensure that any treatment or vaccine will be accessible to all, meaning that Europe has to be ready to use any tools necessary to ensure products are manufactured, distributed and procured in a way that allows everybody equal access globally. The EU joint procurement mechanism should be urgently revised so that we are ready to procure treatment and vaccines as a Union.
“This resolution shows that common European interests can and should prevail over national selfishness. Together we can.”