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Towards a true Health Union


Continuing to combat the pandemic, improving structures, rethinking treaties – Dr. Thomas Steffen, State Secretary of the German Ministry of Health, discussed a European Health Union together with the guests of the Lunch Debate.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the EU member states have been balancing out, on the whole successfully, European solidarity and protection of their national populations. The fight against the pandemic will remain a top priority for the German government.

The pandemic will not end until it is also contained globally. That is why it is crucial to share vaccine doses with third countries. Similar to the European regulation of vaccine procurement, a regulation of vaccine distribution could be a viable option. For this, creative ways must be found to fully exploit the EU treaties.

The structures of European health policy must be steadily improved as long as the pandemic still urges action: the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) must be strengthened; an EU Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Agency (HERA) has already been created.

A health union does not preclude treaty changes. The Conference on the Future of Europe is a promising framework to reflect on this.

The virtual Lunch Debate, "The Lessons of the Covid-19 Pandemic: Towards a True Health Union", was organized by the IEP. The event was moderated by Dr. Funda Tekin, one of the two directors of the IEP. Dr. Jörg Wojahn, Head of the European Commission Representation in Germany, welcomed the participants.

Team & authors

About the Europe talks project: The IEP's Europe Talks bring together citizens, decision-makers, academics and civil society to discuss challenges and perspectives on European integration. In this way, they promote the debate on European policy in Germany.

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