On 29 November 2023, Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis will be the keynote speaker who closes EHTEL’s 2023 Symposium. His topic: The European Health Union. Ahead of attending the Symposium, take a look at his recently co-edited book, “A European Health Union: A Blueprint for Generations”, published in October 2023.
Today, European citizens are probably asking themselves what is happening regarding official European cooperation on health policy. Opinions are far from unanimous on the future of the European Health Union. The overall objectives and goals of a reformed European health policy, its actions, and instruments, are also yet to be agreed. These are all challenges covered by this 300+ page book.
Co-edited by Vytenis Povila Andriukaitis and Gedeminas Cerniauskas, the book examines a variety of aspects of a European Health Union. Organised in three parts, the volume explores a Health Union’s connections with other European policies; covers some potential institutional and treaty changes; and offers insights into the most urgent steps on the road towards a Health Union in Europe. These are topics examined by 14 authors in 12 individual essays that are accompanied by substantial footnotes and reference sections. Its last chapter forms a set of insights on the part of the two co-editors. The publication also contains a foreword, useful introduction, and authors’ biographies.
The book in detail
Several of the essays in the book feature the innovation or digital aspects of health. In particular, see the chapter entitled European Health Union & Progressive Policy Frameworks, written by Issam Alsamara and Helmut Brand (pp103-124).
Chapter authors, Alsamara and Brand, examine the history of the policy context of the European Health Union. For them, six policy areas are associated with the Health Union (pp107-109): five are the European Green Deal, the European Pillar of Social Rights, the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals, peace in Europe, and European sovereignty. On the digital front, a sixth policy area is the European Digital Agenda, which functions in association with a 10-year digital compass (pp111-112).
The authors observe that a proposed European Health Union (“an enhanced health role of the [European Union]”) would (p111):
- “support the development and deployment of digital technologies that can improve the health and care sector” (p111). (So too, investment in research and innovation projects, digital infrastructure, connectivity, and common standards.)
- “foster the creation of the European Health Data Space” (p112).
- “contribute to society’s digital transformation” (p112).
Indeed, according to Shaping Europe’s Digital Future: eHealth, health is a key area where digital can really make a difference.
In conclusion, the authors highlight the importance of “taking a comprehensive and interconnected approach to health” (p119). They see the present time – following the impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic and with European elections upcoming in 2024 – as a “pivotal moment” in terms of bringing the whole European integration project closer to the people of Europe (p119).
Attend the EHTEL Symposium and more:
These digital themes are among many of the topics that will emerge during the course of EHTEL’s 2023 Symposium. To spot some promising avenues of cooperation ahead related to the European Health Union:
- Download the book, which is distributed free.
- Look here for more information about the current involvement of Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis, the book’s co-editor, in the All Policies for a Healthy Europe (AP4HE) manifesto plea for a European health and well-being deal.
- See the European Commission’s European Health Union page, with its focus on crisis preparedness, reform of pharmaceutical legislation, and a focus on conditions like cancer and mental health.
- Attend the 2023 EHTEL Symposium to hear from and interact with Mr Andriukaitis directly.