EU4Health 2021-2027 – a vision for a healthier European Union
EU4Health is the EU’s ambitious response to COVID-19. The pandemic has a major impact on patients, medical and healthcare staff, and health systems in Europe. The new EU4Health programme will go beyond crisis response to address healthcare systems’ resilience.
EU4Health, established by Regulation (EU) 2021/522, will provide funding to eligible entities, health organisations and NGOs from EU countries, or non-EU countries associated to the programme.
Areas of action
With EU4Health, the EU will invest €5.3 billion in current prices in actions with an EU added value, complementing EU countries’ policies and pursuing one or several of EU4Health´s objectives:
The 10 specific objectives under the 4 general goals are:
- To improve and foster health in the Union
- disease prevention & health promotion
- international health initiatives & cooperation
- To tackle cross-border health threats
- prevention, preparedness & response to cross-border health threats
- complementing national stockpiling of essential crisis-relevant products
- establishing a reserve of medical, healthcare & support staff
- To improve medicinal products, medical devices and crisis-relevant products
- making medicinal products, medical devices and crisis-relevant products available and affordable
- To strengthen health systems, their resilience and resource efficiency
- strengthening health data, digital tools & services, digital transformation of healthcare
- improving access to healthcare
- developing and implementing EU health legislation and evidence-based decision making
- integrated work among national health systems
EU4Health will pave the way to a European Health Union by investing in urgent health priorities:
- the response to the COVID-19 crisis and reinforcing the EU’s resilience for cross-border health threats
- Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, and
- the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe
Many actors are necessary to make EU4Health a reality:
- EU countries are consulted on the priorities and strategic orientations of the programme and work together with the Commission in the ‘EU4Health Steering Group’ to ensure consistency and complementarity with national health policies. They provide their opinion in the EU4Health Programme Committee before the adoption of the annual work programmes.
- Stakeholders including representatives of civil society and patients’ associations, academics and organisations of healthcare professionals, provide input on priorities and strategic orientations and on the needs to be addressed through the annual work programme.
- The European Parliament is informed about the progress of the preparatory work and outreach activities with stakeholders.
- The European Commission prepares, adopts and implements the annual work programmes, and monitors and reports on the progress regarding fulfilment of the programme objectives. It may also seek the views of relevant decentralised agencies and of independent experts in the field of health on technical or scientific matters of relevance for the implementation of the programme.
- The Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA) will implement the programme.
EU4Health is implemented through annual work programmes. The 2021 work programme has been adopted. Actions fall under four strands: disease prevention, crisis preparedness, health systems, and digital, with a cross-cutting focus on cancer.
Synergies and complementarities with other funds
Health challenges are cross-cutting by nature. EU4Health works together with other Union programmes, policies, instruments and actions:
- European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) to support vulnerable groups in accessing healthcare
- European Regional and Development Fund to improve regional health infrastructure
- Horizon Europe for health research
- Union Civil Protection Mechanism/rescEU to create stockpiles for emergency medical supplies
- Digital Europe and Connecting Europe Facility for creating the digital infrastructure needed for digital health
- InvestEU Programme
- Single Market Programme
- Recovery and Resilience Facility
- Emergency Support Instrument
- Regulation (EU) 2021/522 establishing a Programme for the Union’s action in the field of health (‘EU4Health Programme’) for the period 2021-2027
- Press release: Commission welcomes entry into force of EU4Health programme
- Questions and Answers: EU4Health Programme 2021-2027
- Press release: Commission welcomes political agreement on EU4Health
- EU4Health proposal (and annexes)
- EU4Health MEMO
- EU4Health factsheet
- Recovery plan for Europe
- MFF 2021-2027 Communication
Previous Health Programmes
Since 2003, EU health programmes have generated knowledge and evidence as a basis for informed policymaking and further research. This includes best practice, tools, and methodologies that benefitted both the public health community and citizens directly (e.g. improving diagnostic tests, supporting EU countries in developing national actions plans on cancer, improving patient care).