„Your Money AND Your Life!”

735,788,071 euros, or nearly 300 billion forints, can be drawn down this year alone from the total EU budget of around two thousand billion forints available to fund health development and procurement programmes in European Member States over the next seven years. The only question is how much of this amount Hungary and Hungarian health institutions and professional health organisations will be able to successfully draw down. The good news is that this financial envelope is not affected by the freezes imposed by the Orbán government’s criminal activities and that interested parties can apply for existing funds directly, bypassing the government.
Your money AND your life! – the sour twisting of the famous roadside threat could be one of the mottos for the most successful lobbying possible, as both are essential for the tragic state of Hungarian public health. Life, i.e. a better chance of survival, a better chance for healthy life, and money, i.e. finally adequate public funding! Health is a national competence in the European Union, which means that the EU can only help, propose, request and indicate indirectly; everything from funding to operation is the sole responsibility of the respective Member State government. It is clear that the Hungarian Government, so concerned about its competences and sovereignty, has gone to great lengths where it has exclusive competence: in addition to health, such areas include education.
Thanks to the hard work of many of us, in the current seven-year budget there is now a substantial budget available for health improvements: in fact, twelve times the amount spent in the previous term. The €5.1 billion or roughly two thousand billion forints for the EU4Health programme aims to help the European Community better tackle future health crises by strengthening national health systems and providing better care, and by making affordable medicines and medical equipment more accessible. Around a quarter of the programme’s budget will be spent on health promotion and prevention programmes over the next seven years, with a particular focus on supporting the fight against cancer.
As one of the initiators and mentors of the European Health Union programme and a Hungarian member of the European Parliament’s Public Health Committee, it is of paramount importance to me that Hungary can make the most successful use of the resources available under the EU4Health programme, especially by providing stakeholders with the right amount and quality of information. To this end, I am in permanent contact with the European Commission and have recently held talks with the heads of the EU agency responsible for implementing the programme, who will, at my request, provide information on the details of the programme in person at a round table meeting I am organising in Budapest in a few weeks’ time. It is important to know that in 2023 alone, for example, more than €300 million will be available to support improvements in health crisis management, followed by €200 million for cancer programmes, nearly €20 million for preventive work on non-communicable diseases (such as mental health), and a further €400 million for operational costs, for example for health professional organisations.
So, by more than doubling the amount of money we can spend on health, we have created a real opportunity for improvement and to address inequalities in care systems. The question now is what we do with this opportunity. This is why, as a Hungarian Member of the European Parliament, I am inviting health professional organisations and representatives of the sector concerned to a round table on 20 February to find the best solution together. I will do my share.

After the Hungarian Prime Minister’s landmark 2014 speech in Tusványos, in which he proclaimed the illiberal state, I vowed that as an MEP I would send an open letter every week to warn the public of the crimes of the system that has been established. For the 389th time, I am ringing the bells of alarm and will do so for as long as it is necessary. Because we must give revival and our shared homeland a chance.

István Ujhelyi
Member of the European Parliament
Founder of the Community of Chance

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