The European Commission is building a strong European Health Union, in which all EU countries prepare and respond together to health crises, medical supplies are available, affordable and innovative, and countries work together to improve prevention, treatment and aftercare for diseases such as cancer. The European Health Union will

  • better protect the health of our citizens
  • equip the EU and its Member States to better prevent and address future pandemics
  • improve resilience of Europe’s health systems 

Lessons from the coronavirus pandemic

The pandemic shows the importance of coordination among European countries to protect people’s health, both during a crisis and in normal times when we can tackle underlying health conditions, invest in strong health systems and train the healthcare workforce. The European Health Union will improve EU-level protection, prevention, preparedness and response against human health hazards.

Key initiatives

In its first proposal on a European Health Union, the Commission focused on crisis preparedness and response measures such as:

EU Health workers
  • strengthening coordination at EU-level when facing cross-border health threats
  • revising the mandates of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and of the European Medicines Agency to provide stronger surveillance, scientific analysis and guidance before and during a crisis

European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) 

The Commission launched a new European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) for health emergencies to develop, produce and procure medical countermeasures before and during a health crisis. HERA aims to:

  • improve EU health security coordination before and during crises
  • bring together the EU Member States, industry and relevant stakeholders
  • develop, produce, procure, stockpile and equitably distribute medical countermeasures
  • reinforce the global health emergency response architecture

European Health Data Space 

The newly-launched European Health Data Space, one of the central building blocks of the European Health Union and a milestone in EU’s digital transformation, aims to:

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  • improve healthcare delivery across the EU, by empowering people to control their health data in their home country or in other EU countries
  • offer a consistent, secure, trustworthy and efficient framework for the use of health data. Under strict conditions, researchers, innovators, public institutions or industry will have access to large amounts of high-quality health data, crucial to developing life-saving treatments, vaccines or medical devices
  • foster a genuine single market for digital health services and products

The European Health Data Space builds on rigorous data privacy, interoperability and security requirements, including cybersecurity, which is key for the trust of citizens and the robustness of the project.

Questions and answers on the European Health Data Space

The pharmaceutical strategy

The pharmaceutical strategy aims to modernise the regulatory framework and support research and technologies that reach patients. It rests on four pillars:

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  • fulfilling unmet medical needs
  • supporting a competitive and innovative European pharmaceutical industry
  • enhancing resilience through diversified supply chains, environmental sustainability, and crisis preparedness
  • promoting high standards for medical products globally

Europe’s Beating Cancer plan

Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan aims to prevent cancer and ensure that cancer patients, survivors, their families and carers can enjoy a high quality of life. By tapping into a broad array of EU policies, notably digitalisation, research and innovation, the cancer plan helps EU countries turn the tide against cancer. It includes actions and flagship initiatives covering the entire disease pathway:

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  • prevention
  • early detection
  • diagnosis and treatment
  • quality of life for cancer patients and survivors