We demand more money and more EU competences in healthcare, this is what the European Health Union program is about, said Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi at an online press conference on his social media platform.
The document on this subject was adopted on Tuesday by the S&D Group in the European Parliament (S&D), including proposals for minimum standards that the Hungarian politician has been pushing for recently. Presenting the discussion paper on the European Health Union, Ujhelyi said it was an important pillar of the comprehensive program to call on all Member State governments to carry out stress-tests on their healthcare systems. “Based on the results, we call for the creation of an EU Directive for Minimum Standards in Healthcare, which provides clear guidance for the provision of special healthcare in all regions of the EU,” explained István Ujhelyi.
MSZP’s European politician as one of creators of the program added that the package now adopted by the S&D Group also proposes the creation of a Health Response Mechanism that could effectively support the mobility of patients and healthcare workers in emergencies by strengthening existing EU protocols. The Social democrats are also calling for the strengthening of a Joint European Public Procurement Mechanism, threrby reducing price speculation and avoiding Member States competing with each other in the procurement of treatments and medical equipment.
Presenting the package of proposals containing several program points, István Ujhelyi also emphasized that during the establishment of the European Health Union, the amount of resources available for healthcare should be increased by leaps and bounds: both in the seven-year EU budget and in terms of Member State contributions. The program also calls for the closest possible coordination and integration of research and development capacities in order to tackle similar pandemic cases as effectively as possible.
István Ujhelyi said that he was proud to be a part of the health reform program of the S&D Group as a Hungarian and thus the possibility opened up of an earlier commitment he made to create minimum standard requirements in healthcare. “The S&D Group in the European Parliament is a pioneer on this issue, and we are now waiting for the other groups to join the initiative. I also trust that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will support rather than hinder this revolutionary program in the European Council,” said István Ujhelyi.
At his online press conference, the MSZP MEP said about the “Hungarian debate” on the European Parliament’s agenda for Thursday: the activities of the Orbán government clearly go against European values, and the Fidesz authorization law (Hungary’s emergency epidemic bill) gave the Hungarian head of government unprecedented and unlimited power. Ujhelyi emphasized that the EP debate was not initiated by the Hungarian opposition MPs. “My personal opinion is that these debates do not move things forward, but at least contrary to state propaganda, the dictatorial ways the government is trying to silence those who disagree with it will be revealed and stated point blank,” he said. Ujhelyi added that if he were to decide on the issue, he would give the Minister of Justice Judit Varga a say in tomorrow’s debate, as he said, at least this way she could try and explain the excesses the government has made referring to the crisis. “By the way, Viktor Orbán had been invited to the meeting, so technically, he could hop on one of his private or government jets and go to Brussels, if he really wanted to,” added István Ujhelyi.
Budapest – 13/05/2020