2014-2020 EU Health Program Conference, Brussels, 30th September 2019

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Report by Nora Laubstein

“Vaccinate, vaccinating brings a blessing. Vaccinate, the more the better, to vaccinate is necessary. Yes, it is really great!"-The statement began the one-day event held by the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency, CHAFEA ↗, based in Luxembourg for the past 15 years. The statement was inclusive in a film shown at the event— a deeply one-side propaganda film.

The EU Health Program Conference brought a large stratification of many highly distinguished health-sector members. The EU health commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis, offered his farewell speech, gave thanks to all attendees as well as the approximate 7000 organisations. Andriukaitis proudly pointed to the achievements. There was a sense of reflection and sentiment that is usually uncommon in EU-circles, and this resonated and blew through the hall! Andriukaitis stated that under the slogan: “Health in all policy areas,” a new economic system, evidence-based, individual-related care, and digitalization of health and advanced cooperation within the EU had been initiated.

Andriukaitis emphasized that the European Social Fund Plus (ESF +) was intended primarily for two areas: 1, Prevention (vaccination), and 2, Health care (access to care). He stressed that the ESF + has a budget of 130 million Euros for the new period 2021-2027. This includes the programs for "Horizon Europe,” “Cancer," and "Digitization". Finally, Andriukaitis referred to two alliances established by the EU Commission on the fight against antibiotic resistance (JAMRAI) and the food sector (JANPA). Then he left the lectern amid loud applause.

This was followed by a session on the highlights of the ongoing health program. Participants and presentations can be viewed at the following link: Highlightssession ↗
The following discussion group on "The Future Health Promotion of the EU" was led by the Director of DG SANTE, Ms Anne Bucher.
CHAFEA provides a detailed link: Future-EU-funding-for-Health ↗

After lunch, there were the four parallel sessions, see the following links:
OBJECTIV 1 ↗
OBJECTIV 2
OBJECTIV 3 ↗
OBJEKTIV 4 ↗

Commentary:

This farewell-event of the “old EU-commission” was impressive and instructive, even if the "new" was not spoken with an overt symbol. The EU is set up with a wide breadth of health issues covered and there are personnel now established that had prior to never been available for appointment! Some approaches of the new commission are questionable: The budget has shrunk massively — only 20% of the previous budget will be available. “Brexit “and other economic policy changes will be fully effective. Key challenges included terms such as "resilience, effectiveness, and access to care," as well as the "transformation of national health systems." In general, many speakers focused on the nation states of the EU. This means that the EU will generally withdraw somewhat from the health sector; On the one hand, it will focus more on the World Health Organization (WHO) and on the other, it will reinforce the "health in all policies" approach.
It will also be new that the remaining health sector will be integrated into the EU Commissariat for Labor and Social Affairs. For this purpose, a new General Directorate DG "DG Structural Reform Support" is formed, which will continue the "Support Program for Reforms-RSP". This primarily affects healthcare services (including emergency care) and infrastructure.
With regard to the "Horizon Europe" program, reference is made in particular to the 17 sustainability goals that reach far into the social sphere. The second pillar of this program is the Joint Research Center. Another focus will be on "integrated care". On the basis of evidence-based practice, the imparting of knowledge, strengthening of competence and planning should improve the health situation of EU citizens. An important tool is telematics and access to health technology. What could this mean for the CAM? Different CAM practices and their users can focus on the position of the WHO, but at the same time emphasize developments such as "integrated care" or national legislation. What is happening in the state public health sector shows once again the importance of a free, second market. To what extent the CAM procedures and their laws are compatible with digitization and telematics must be proven. In speaking to the JAMRAI Information Desk (AMR) for further information, it appeared that the areas of "individual immunity enhancement" and "gut and nutrition" area are in a completely different policy area. My question was not therefore answered concretely, and I did not leave feeling completely assured that this could and will be addressed.