"We need a stronger European health union," said the CDU politician on Wednesday in her first speech on the state of the EU in Brussels. "The time has come for this."
In the past six months, European health systems and health workers have performed “miracles”. Europe has achieved more together than ever before. Many tasks, however, had been completed even though the EU was not entirely responsible. That is why the health union is necessary.
To implement it, the first lessons have to be learned from the current crisis. The "EU4Health" program must be sustainable. Among other things, it must be financed more heavily. "We have to strengthen our crisis preparedness and crisis management in relation to cross-border threats," said the EU Commission President.
As a first step, the powers of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) will be strengthened and expanded. An agency for advanced biomedical research and development will then be set up. "We need strategic storage capacities to resolve bottlenecks in the supply chains, especially for pharmaceutical products," said von der Leyen. The third step is to talk about health responsibilities, she added.
That is a "very urgent task". Global lessons also need to be learned from the crisis. Therefore, she wants to organize a global health summit next year as part of the Italian G20 presidency, announced the EU Commission chief.