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The case for a European Health Union

We are pleased to share “The case for a European Health Union”, a short animated film introducing the European Health Union Initiative.

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The BMJ: Has Europe failed to protect its people from COVID-19?

Based on the recent European Health Union webinar, “Have we failed to protect Europe’s people? The case for a European Health Union”, an opinion piece authored by Lina Papartytė and submitted to The BMJ argues that yes, Europe has failed.

Full article available here.

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Webinar recording: Have we failed to protect Europe’s people?

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grip the continent, it is hard to deny that our collective failings during the crisis have been massive, and fault lines in the current model of European collaboration are standing out starkly again in the struggle for timely and equitable vaccine roll-outs.

This second webinar in the series Towards a European Health Union, hosted by the EHU Initiative and facilitated by the European Health Forum Gastein, takes an unflinching look at what is going wrong, and how we can get it right in the future.

Watch the full recording here.

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Eurohealth: Perspectives on the European Health Union

In a recent Eurohealth publication, Vytenis Andriukaitis, Anniek de Ruijter, and Ilona Kickbusch gave their perspective on the European Health Union. Full articles are available below:

The European Health Union is an initiative with potential to shape European politics for decades to come by Vytenis Andriukaitis

What do we actually mean by a ‘European Health Union’? by Anniek de Ruijter

If you want a stronger EU: build a European Health Union by Ilona Kickbusch

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Podcast: Vaccine nationalism – where is the solidarity now?

In this first episode of the new European Health Union Now! podcast, Ilona Kickbusch, Founding Director of the Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, Geneva, speaks with Anniek de Ruijter, Associate Professor of (EU) Health Law and Policy, University of Amsterdam and Clemens Martin Auer, Co-Chair, EU Vaccines Taskforce and President of the EHFG, on the topic of vaccine nationalism .

Europe seems to have forgotten that nobody is safe until everyone is safe. Does the current era of vaccine nationalism and its concomitant failure to demonstrate solidarity put a European Health Union at risk?

Available to listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

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How a European Health Union can strengthen global health

A compelling comment by Ilona Kickbusch and Anniek de Ruijter in The Lancet Regional Health – Europe on how a European Health Union can strengthen global health. Read the article here.

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Our good health: economic fuel or core value?

Vytenis Andriukaitis, one of the European Health Union Manifesto initiators, has co-authored an article for Social Europe on the value of good health.

Read the full piece here.

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The Lancet: Call for Action

A recent communication submitted to The Lancet calls for pan-European commitment for the rapid and sustained reduction in SARS-CoV-2 infections.

“Across Europe, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing excess deaths, placing a burden on societies and health systems and harming the economy. European governments have yet to develop a common vision to guide the management of the pandemic. Overwhelming evidence shows that not only public health, but also society and the economy benefit greatly from reducing cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Vaccines will help control the virus, but not until late 2021.If European governments do not act now, further waves of infection are to be expected, with consequential damage to health, society, jobs, and businesses. With open borders across Europe, a single country alone cannot keep the number of COVID-19 cases low; joint action and common goals among countries are therefore essential. We therefore call for a strong, coordinated European response and clearly defined goals for the medium and long term. Achieving and maintaining low case numbers should be the common, pan-European goal for the following reasons.”

Full text available here.

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Webinar recording: Towards a European Health Union

The recording of our webinar themed “Towards a European Health Union: A vision for more EU in health” is now available. Watch it on YouTube!

The webinar introduced the EHU initiative’s Manifesto for a European Health Union and engaged expert speakers and webinar participants in a candid dialogue about the Manifesto’s goals and how they may best be achieved.

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Launch: Manifesto for a European Health Union

The call for signatures on the Manifesto for a European Health Union has been launched. To view the manifesto and sign, go here.

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Pharmaceutical strategy for Europe

The European Commission adopts a pharmaceutical strategy for Europe. It rests on four pillars, including legislative and non-legislative action:

  1. Ensuring access to affordable medicines for patients, and addressing unmet medical needs (e.g. in the areas of antimicrobial resistance, rare diseases);
  2. Supporting competitiveness, innovation and sustainability of the EU’s pharmaceutical industry and the development of high quality, safe, effective and greener medicines;
  3. Enhancing crisis preparedness and response mechanisms, diversified and secure supply chains, address medicines shortages;
  4. Ensuring a strong EU voice in the world, by promoting a high level of quality, efficacy and safety standards.

For further information, click here.

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First steps towards a European Health Union

The European Commission is taking the first steps towards building the European Health Union announced by President von der Leyen in her State of the Union address. The focus is on measures to strengthen the EU’s health security framework, and to reinforce the crisis preparedness and response role of key EU agencies.

Further information is available here.

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European Health Union @ EHFG 2020

The Closing Plenary of the European Health Forum Gastein 2020 discussed the potential for a European Health Union including panellists such as Marta Temido, Minister of Health, Republic of Portugal, Thomas Steffen, State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Germany and Mohammed Chahim, MEP, Socialist & Democrats Group, European Parliament.

An overview of the session content and its recording is available here. A short animatic is accessible via this link.

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Webinar: Manifesto for a European Health Union

An expert panel of initiations involved in the work on a Manifesto for a European Health Union held a webinar outlining their vision for a stronger role of the EU in health and health policy. Among the speakers were Vytenis Andriukaitis, former European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Ilona Kickbusch, Founding Director of the Global Health Programme at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and Anniek de Ruijter, Associate Professor, EU health law, University of Amsterdam.

The recording of the webinar is available here.

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State of the Union address: More action on health

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced building a strong European Health Union in her State of the Union address.

The official European Commission website on a European Health Union is accessible here.