10 Guiding Principles for the European Commission’s new health programme


As you know, the European Parliament will shortly be voting on the draft European Parliament report on the European Commission’s proposed EU4Health Programme, first in the Committee for Public Health, Food Safety and the Environment (ENVI) and later within the plenary as a whole.

COVID-19 has shown EU action on health is more urgently needed than ever. Europe cannot wait for the next pandemic for more EU action on health. The time to invest in a healthy future is now.

The organisations belonging to the EU4Health Civil Society Alliance have developed 10 guiding principles that should guide the new EU4Health programme, and we would ask you to bear these in mind in the upcoming discussions and votes.

These are as follows:

  1. The EU4Health programme and its budget should address not only the COVID-19 recovery, but a sustainable system able to cope with emergency situations and crises in the future
  2. Civil society health organisations are an essential resource in shaping health policy at national and European levels.
  3. The role of health promotion, primary prevention and recovery support should be strengthened and prioritised to improve physical and mental health, and the well-being of all people living in Europe
  4. The EU4Health programme should include actions to support health literacy and digital health literacy improvements for all people living in Europe
  5. The focus on cancer offers an exciting case study and template for what focused EU health cooperation can achieve, but attention should also go towards ensuring positive impact from the EU4Health programme is delivered for other disease areas.
  6. Special focus should be given to other non-communicable diseases and their risk factors such as nutrition, smoking and alcohol consumption
  7. Coherence should be ensured with other elements of the EU budget
  8. Solid governance and dedicated coordination structure for the EU4Health programme will be key
  9. Better harmonised data systems
  10. Strengthening of EU agencies, in particular the ECDC and EMA, is fundamental to improve the public health capability at European level and achieve the long-term objectives of the EU4Health programme.


In addition, the EU4Health Civil Society Alliance believes that the new EU programme should focus on ensuring long-term health improvements by boosting disease prevention, health promotion and public health action; ensuring access to care by reducing inequalities in Europe; and strengthening European health systems beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

To read the guiding principles in full, they can be downloaded here. If you have any questions, please contact Zoltán Massay-Kosubek at zoltan@epha.org or Michele Calabrò at michele.calabro@eu-patient.eu who coordinate the Alliance.

We look forward to hearing from you and engaging with you on the debate on the future of the EU4health programme in the coming months.