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EPF calls on the newly elected mandate to ensure health is an EU policy priority and that patients’ rights are implemented across the EU

Between 23 and 26 May 2019, European citizens and patients took to the polls to cast their votes for the next European mandate. EPF is very pleased to see that 13 (confirmed) of the 60 candidates that endorsed and showed support for our #europeforpatients campaign and take the opportunity to offer our most sincere congratulations to everyone. We look forward to working together in the future to ensure issues that matter to patients are at the heart of EU health policies.

EPF is most grateful to our membership and partners who actively supported and helped us share our Elections manifesto. Special thanks go to those candidates who signed our support card, therefore actively committing to ensure issues that matter to patients are met if elected.

The new European Parliament is starting its work at a challenging political environment for Europe that has included the possibility of less or no meaningful EU action on health post-2020. This scenario does not reflect the will of a significant portion of the European population: 70% of EU citizens want “more EU in health and more health in the EU”.

There are currently 150 million EU citizens are currently living with one or more chronic conditions, and whose lives are directly impacted by all significant changes and measures taken in health policy. For this reason we see patient involvement as a crucial element to drive positive change in health.

We reiterate our call to all newly elected candidates to put “what matters to patients” at the heart of the policies shaped by the next European Parliament and Commission. A link with peoples’ priorities and concerns is important to make “Europe” and the elections relevant to people, and to ensure EU-level political debates resonate with the common European values of equity and solidarity.

On this note, the European Commission’s recent contribution to the informal EU27 leaders’ meeting in Sibiu (Romania) on 9 May 2019, set out in a publication on the future of Europe. The strategic document, which indicates recommendations on the EU’s priorities for the next five years, includes references to the need to “support high-quality, affordable and accessible health care through the digital transformation of health systems”. The need for extra push towards innovation in the health sector is strongly emphasised.

“As the voice of patients in Europe, we note that the European Commission understands the necessity of continued investment in health,” says Usman Khan, EPF Executive Director. “We therefore call on the political leaders of the EU, new and future Members of the European Parliament and the future Commission, to ensure health remains an EU policy priority and to take concrete action to ensure the voice of the patient is central to this.” This could include having a Vice-President for Health at the European Commission, as stated in our joint-call.