The EU has launched a Common Health Union Initiative

Health | February 11, 2022, Friday // 12:07|  views


The EU, chaired by France, has launched a joint health union initiative with a joint declaration, said French Health Minister Olivier Veran.

The text will be called the “Grenoble Declaration” after the French city, where EU health ministers met to discuss their ambitions for closer coordination.

France, which holds the rotating EU presidency, seeks to benefit from health cooperation stemming from the joint approach to tackling the coronavirus pandemic over the past two years, in particular through the purchase of vaccines.

“I believe that the European Union can become a world champion in the field of public health if it overcomes the contradictions between market considerations and public health systems,” Veran told reporters.

The joint purchase of certain medical devices and the fight against rare diseases at European level should bring benefits, he said.

To that end, the Grenoble Declaration, which he hoped would be signed “in the coming days, will be a fundamental declaration on a health union in Europe”.

EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, who attended the meeting, called France's move a “strong boost to genuine European approaches when it comes to our actions in the field of health”. Both she and Veran also emphasized that while the EU has made progress in making the coronavirus pandemic a more manageable problem, mainly through vaccinations, there is no room for complacency.

“It's too early to think the pandemic is endemic,” Veran said, making a veiled reference to countries like Spain that seek to think of dealing with covid as less serious endemic diseases like seasonal flu. “Nothing allows us to say right now that there is no new option anywhere in the world that is more dangerous than the Omicron variant that now dominates Europe,” he said.

Veran also said that on another issue - growing resistance to antibiotics, which are commonly used in agriculture and have caused hundreds of thousands of deaths - France intends to use its EU presidency to take action.

He said a health conference would be held in Paris on March 7th, with the participation of EU health and agriculture ministers on the issue.

“We cannot tackle antibiotic resistance just from the position of health ministers,” he said, adding that “it is also necessary to reduce the use of antibiotics in animals.”


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Tags: health, initiative, veran, France, EU


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