After two years of talks, the European Parliament endorsed on 26 February the EU’s third health programme, which pursues four key objectives:
- preventing illness by addressing the main risk factors (tobacco, alcohol abuse, lack of exercise, poor eating habits);
- protecting citizens from serious cross-border threats to health;
- helping create innovative and viable health systems;
- improving access to better and safer quality healthcare for all citizens.
MEPs succeeded in having the Commission present a mid-term report (by 30 June 2017 at the latest) on progress on these objectives. They also wanted the programme to lay greater stress on age-related illnesses, which are affecting increasing numbers of people and which bring severe health, economic and social consequences.
The programme has a budget of €449,394 million for the period 2014-2020, an increase on the 2007-2013 budget (€321 million) and on the budget proposed by the Commission (€446 million). The EU will fund up to 60% of admissible costs for member state actions, and up to 80% for certain joint actions.
Before final adoption, this programme still needs to be approved by the Council.