PES health ministers: now is the time to strengthen Europe’s health systems

11/06/2020

PES health ministers

Progressive health ministers meeting by videoconference

Health must remain a priority even as COVID-19 is overcome, Europe must upgrade its health systems to improve resilience against future health crises, guarantee access to quality healthcare to all and ensure proper conditions for health and care workers, ministers from the PES said today.

Progressive health ministers met by videoconference this afternoon to discuss common positions and priorities in the area of health ahead of tomorrow’s European Council on health.

PES meeting Chair and Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Lena Hallengren, said:

“Across Europe, public health systems have been working non-stop to save lives in extremely difficult circumstances. In every member state this virus has deeply impacted healthcare, but thanks to the skill and dedication of our doctors, nurses, caregivers and support workers, we are getting through this challenge. Our thanks go out to them for their valiant work.

“Across Europe, our political family is committed to ensuring we have the best healthcare systems in the world, not just for this crisis but in the long-term. We want to strengthen our health systems for the future, to build resilience, boost patient access and improve conditions for frontline workers. Based on the experience from the actual crisis, a big part of this will be looking into ways we can mitigate the repercussions of future cross-border health crises and ensure the health of all our citizens. Right now, we must spare no effort to develop and produce a vaccine for COVID-19, and ensure that it is treated as a public good, accessible to everyone in Europe without discrimination.

“Securing high-quality healthcare is, and has always been, a fundamental goal for our social-democratic family.”

Participants at the meeting also discussed the different recovery measures, notably the newly proposed EU4Health programme, and exchanged views on developing and producing a vaccine for COVID-19. The EU4Health programme will contribute to the post-COVID-19 recovery of the EU’s healthcare systems, strengthening capabilities in view of major crises whilst also helping improve access to healthcare.

PES Health Ministers agreed to further deepen their discussions and joint projects during the German Council presidency.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Lena Hallengren, Chair of the PES Health Ministerial network, Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Sweden
  • Magnus Heunicke, Minister for Health and Family Affairs, Denmark
  • Roberto Speranza, Minister of Health, Italy
  • Chris Fearne, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Malta
  • Pilar Aparicio, General Director of Public Health, Spain
  • Helene Fritzon, PES Vice-President and Vice-President of S&D Group, Member of European Parliament
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES