Ujhelyi: European Health Union could be realised through five-party cooperation

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EU_HealthcareA five-party cooperation has lined up behind the concept of the “European Health Union.” The EU public health strategy, which also provides quality care for Hungarian people, is expected to be adopted by a large majority at the European Parliament’s plenary session, said one of the developers of the concept Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi at his online press conference on Wednesday.
The MSZP politician pointed out that the related document is being jointly submitted by the S&D Group, the European People’s Party, and the Liberal ReNew Group, but the Greens and the far-left GUE Group have also joined the resolution. The debate on the document will take place on Wednesday at the Brussels institution and the final vote will take place on Friday.
“One of my most important commitments as a re-elected MEP for this parliamentary term was to lay a proposal for a set of criteria for improving the quality of healthcare on the table of European decision-makers, thus supporting Hungarian people’s access to healthcare and improving the quality of Hungarian healthcare in general. The coronavirus epidemic has accelerated events and, with the support of the S&D Group, we can already lay the foundations for this program,” said Ujhelyi, stressing that it is unacceptable that there are significant differences in the quality of healthcare systems in EU Member States, and it is also untenable that patients receive a different level of service in Hungary, depending on where they apply for care.
According to the Socialist politician, the joint resolution calls on the European institutions and the Member States to learn from the lessons of the virus and develop a much stronger cooperation in the area of health and “create a European Health Union.” The latter concept is also the name of the reform package previously adopted by the S&D Group, which includes the creation of a framework of minimum quality requirements that guarantees quality care, patient safety and decent working conditions for healthcare workers, while preserving Member States’ competences.
Regarding the resolution, Ujhelyi also emphasized that the document recorded the fact of serious imbalances between Member States’ care systems and the risk of inequalities in Member States due to the emigration of health professionals as a historic breakthrough. The European politician of MSZP added that it was an important achievement that EUR 9.4 billion had been allocated in the European reconstruction package to finance health programs, which is multiple times the amount spent in this area in previous budgets.
“The resolution also states that the level of resources allocated to health in the next seven-year EU budget cannot be limited, as long-term investments and commitments are needed: targeted EU funding, for example on strengthening hospital infrastructure and health services, and all this based on clear criteria,” said István Ujhelyi, concluding that he was confident that the healthcare resolution he initiated would receive a large majority and that there would be no Hungarian MEP to vote against the document.

Brussels – 08/07/2020