EU health policy – Consilium


EU member states have the effect of organising and delivering health services and health care. The EU’s role in health policy thus remains complementary to national policies.

EU policies and actions in public places health try to:

  • safeguard and improve the healthiness of EU citizens
  • offer the modernisation of health infrastructure
  • enhance the efficiency of Europe’s health systems
  • strengthen readiness and response measures to mix-border health threats

Coordination on public health problems is really a necessary results of the disposable movement of individuals and goods within the internal market. EU cooperation serves to tackle common health challenges resulting for instance from antimicrobial resistance, avoidable chronic illnesses as well as an aging population.

An advanced of human health protection will be ensured in most Union policies and activities.

Article 168 from the TFEU (legal foundation for the EU’s health policy)

The EU adopts laws and regulations and suggestions to safeguard people. Individuals measures cover health products and patients’ legal rights.

Key measures within the EU’s health policy

Places that the EU has adopted legislation include:

  • patients’ legal rights in mix-border healthcare
  • medicines and medical devices
  • serious mix-border health threats
  • cancer, tobacco and promotion of excellent health
  • organs, bloodstream, tissues and cells

Patients’ legal rights in mix-border healthcare

Under EU law, EU citizens have the authority to access healthcare in almost any EU member condition and also to be reimbursed for care abroad by their house country. The Ecu Medical Health Insurance Card (EHIC) helps to ensure that necessary healthcare is supplied underneath the same conditions and also at exactly the same cost as people insured for the reason that country.

Furthermore, an EU directive on patients’ legal rights in mix-border healthcare, aiming the circumstances to which someone may visit another EU country to get health care and reimbursement.

Medicines and medical devices

The EU regulates the authorisation of medicines at EU level through the European Medicines Agency or at national level through the competent government bodies in EU countries. Special rules exists for the authorisation of:

  • medicinal products for paediatric use
  • orphan medicines (accustomed to treat, identify or prevent rare illnesses affecting a maximum of 5 in 10 000 individuals the EU)
  • traditional herbal supplements
  • vaccines

The EU also regulates the numerous studies that gives the information employed for the authorisation. The goal is to be sure the safety, effectiveness and excellence of medicinal products. Once placed available on the market, the security of the medicinal product remains monitored throughout its entire lifespan with the EU system of pharmacovigilance.

EU health policy - Consilium in 10 000 individuals the

The Ecu Medicines Agency started in 1995 and it is the a eu network comprising over 40 national regulatory government bodies. This guarantees a continuing exchange and flow of knowledge concerning the scientific assessment of medicinal products within the EU.

There’s additionally a European regulatory framework for medical devices. It ensures the security and effectiveness of medical devices and facilitates patients’ use of devices within the European market.

Mix-border health threats

The EU and it is member states coordinate and cooperate in the area of health security. Risk and crisis management are down to member states. The EU has, however, the competence to aid, coordinate and complement national actions.

Monitoring, early warning, readiness and response measures to combat serious mix-border threats to health are crucial elements to make sure an advanced of health protection within the Eu.

The Ecu center for disease prevention and control provides EU member states with independent scientific advice, assistance and expertise on public health threats, for example communicable illnesses.

A vital milestone in creating a more powerful EU’s health security framework was the choice in 2013 to enhance readiness and strengthen convenience of a coordinated reaction to health emergencies. The choice also reinforces the function from the Health Security Committee, an appearance made up of member states representatives, in addressing serious mix-border health threats.

To be able to step-up fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic, the ecu Commission has submit in November 2020 a brand new group of proposals to construct a “European Health Union”. The proposals try to further strengthen the EU’s health security framework, and also to reinforce the crisis readiness and response role of key EU agencies.

Coordinating the EU’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic

The Council has additionally activated its integrated political crisis response (IPCR). This mechanism enables EU countries and also the European institutions to coordinate across sectors the EU’s actions as a result of complex and major crises, including pandemics.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council is playing a vital role in coordinating the EU’s response. The presidencies convenes weekly technical and political IPCR roundtables with representatives of nations affected and experts, discussing the most recent developments and preparing the floor for decisions to become taken in the EU level.

Promoting health insurance and tackling illnesses


Cancer may be the second leading reason for mortality in EU countries and it is one of the leading contributors to premature deaths within the EU. We have an impact not just around the health and wellness of people, but additionally around the healthcare and social systems, the governmental budgets and also the productivity and development of the economy, together with a healthy workforce.

Some pot method of fighting cancer was paved through the:


Tobacco consumption may be the single largest avoidable health risks, and the most important reason for premature dying within the EU, accountable for nearly 700 000 deaths each year. Around 50% of smokers die prematurely (typically 14 years sooner than non-smokers).

The cigarettes and tobacco products directive lays lower rules managing the manufacture, presentation and purchase of tobacco and related products. to safeguard consumers in the EU. Another directive around the structure and rates of excise duty put on manufactured tobacco introduced high taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products, which aims to lessen tobacco use, particularly among youthful people.

This Year’s Council recommendation on smoke-free environments calls on EU member states to safeguard individuals from being uncovered to cigarettes in public areas and also at work.

Antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) takes place when microbes for example bacteria develop potential to deal with a number of medicines. Antimicrobial resistance is rising, because of the overuse of antibiotics and improper disposal of medicines. It causes about 33 000 deaths each year within the EU. This case is further irritated by the possible lack of growth and development of new antimicrobial medicines.

The EU’s 2017 plan of action against antimicrobial resistance aims to advertise awareness and finest practices, stimulate research and innovation in addition to strengthening global cooperation. The brand new regulation on veterinary medicinal products adopted in 2018 has among its aims to curb using antibiotics in farming and therefore to prevent multiplication of resistant microbes from creatures to humans.


Vaccination policy is really a competence of member states. The EU provides help member states in coordinating their policies and programmes.

In December 2018 the Council adopted a suggestion to bolster the EU cooperation on vaccine-avoidable illnesses. This initiative sets out assistance with tackling vaccine hesitancy, improving vaccination coverage, promoting coordination of vaccine procurement and supporting research and innovation. Additionally, it encourages member states to build up and implement national vaccination plans.

Safety of gear of human origin

Many treatments of significant conditions depend around the accessibility to bloodstream, tissues and cells.

In 2002 and 2004 the EU adopted legislation to safeguard patients receiving bloodstream, tissues and cells and hang minimum needs on quality and safety for those steps from donation to treatment and follow-up. This EU legislation has ensured the security of countless patients undergoing bloodstream transfusion and transplantation.

Presently, the legislation on bloodstream, tissues, cells and organs is under review to make sure that it may react to current and future challenges.


The Ecu Commission has incorporated eHealth among the key sectors in the “A Europe fit for that digital age” agenda. eHealth describes tools and services which use information and communication technologies (ICTs) to enhance prevention, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and control over illnesses.

The COVID-19 crisis has shown the significance of digital transformation within the health insurance and care sectors. Digitalisation can strengthen the resilience of health systems, their efficiency as well as their overall reaction to the pandemic.

The long run: EU4Health

On 28 May 2020, the ecu Commission presented its proposal for any new, reinforced EU health programme for that period 2021-2027, known as the EU4Health programme.

This programme is presently susceptible to negotiations between your European Parliament and also the Council.

As approved within the Council negotiating mandate, the EU4Health programme envisages a considerable strengthening from the capacity from the EU to enhance and support member states in public health policy. Your budget from the new programme – as approved within the Council mandate – is anticipated to become considerably greater compared to 2014-2020 Health programme (which in fact had a financial budget of €450 million).

This programme is really a strong reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, but additionally keeps a concentrate on lengthy-term EU actions within the health field. It aims to enhance public health within the EU making the Union better prepared to handle health crises.

Following its meeting on 17-21 This summer 2020, the ecu Council asked the Council to consider negotiations using the European Parliament to be able to finalise the job on all files associated with the lengthy-term EU budget ought to be exceptional emergency. On 21 October 2020, EU member states’ ambassadors, approved the Council mandate for negotiations using the European Parliament.

The function from the Council in EU’s health policy

As with other policy areas, the ecu Council defines the EU’s overall political direction and priorities, and in health policy.

Within the health area, the Council from the Eu negotiates and adopts EU laws and regulations and coordinates policies from the member states. In regards to legislation, the Council generally functions along with the European Parliament. The Council may also address tips about public health to EU Member States.

Health problems are discussed within the Employment, Social Policy, Health insurance and Consumer Matters Council configuration (EPSCO).

The EU’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic

Over these occasions of crisis, the EU and it is member states will work together to slow lower multiplication from the virus, reinforce healthcare systems, and promote research to build up a secure COVID-19 vaccine.

Discover 10 things the EU has completed to combat the pandemic and also to help Europe become more ready to face mix-border threats.


The EU Health Coalition calls for an ambitious EU4HEALTH programme for Europe