Next Generation EU - European Commission Proposes Significant Funding and Expanded EU Health Programme
The European Commission (the Commission) published on 27 May 2020 its proposal for a major recovery plan and put forward a new EUR 750 billion recovery instrument called ‘Next Generation EU’ that would be embedded in and added to the long term EU budget (itself worth some EUR 1,100 billion between 2021 and 2027). The money from Next Generation EU would be available to the Member States in the form of both grants (EUR 500 billion) and loans (EUR 250 billion).
The focus of the recovery plan is the green and digital transition but the plan also has a substantial health component, at times intertwined with green and digital aspects.
- The Commission plans to create a stand-alone health programme, EU4Health, which would be endowed with a budget of EUR 9.4 billion and would invest in disease prevention, crisis preparedness and the procurement of vital medicines and equipment. It would also build to improve long-term health outcomes notably by enhancing access to healthcare, diagnosis and treatment.
- The Commission also proposes to strengthen rescEU to build the permanent capacity to handle all types of emergencies. It would create EU-level reserves of essential supplies and equipment that can be mobilised to address major emergencies.
- The European Medicines Agency would be given broader powers to monitor the production and supply of essential medicines to avoid shortages.
- The Commission furthermore envisages a stronger role for the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in coordinating surveillance, preparedness and response to health crises.
- The Commission again stresses the importance of the security of supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients and puts forward the Strategic Investment Facility as a tool “to support cross-border investments to help strengthen and build European strategic value chains”. The Commission’s pharmaceutical strategy, according to its adjusted working programme due at the end of 2020, will offer more details.
- The Commission would create a European Health Data Space that would promote the exchange of health data and support research.
- Naturally, the Commission will reinforce Horizon Europe to support health research in matters such as vaccines.
- The Commission will seek to strengthen joint procurement, focusing on vaccines “in the immediate term”.
- Finally, the Commission says to be a strong proponent of international cooperation, which also extends to health matters.
More information on the recovery plan can be found in the attached Communication of the Commission (“Europe’s moment: repair and prepare for the next generation”), while other relevant documents can be found at the bottom of this link.
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