A European Health Union as the Way Forward for the Health of the Continent

FEPS, Policy Brief, September 27, 2021. 

The ongoing health crisis has highlighted the limits of existing European integration policies, with their emphasis on the development of the internal market while marginalising what most Europeans consider most important: saving lives and promoting health and wellbeing.

With the pooling of European resources for the prefinancing of research and public procurement of vaccines proving to be more efficient in comparison to competitive bidding by the member states, Europeans will be the first to feel the benefits of a European Health Union (EHU).

The potential scope for further actions within the EHU is vast, with some avenues for moving forward being clear. However, the risk of a return to a policy where the EU does not act remains.

This policy brief by former EU commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis analyses why the best choice for Europeans would be to amend the Treaty on European Union to provide the EU with the explicit legal competence in health policy to construct a real European Health Union, while preserving subsidiarity where functional.

The call for a more social Europe, for concrete progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and the Green Deal, can no longer be dismissed.

Read the Policy Brief