The COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak constitutes a grave emergency and represents a situation unprecedented since the end of the Second World War. Especially for the most deprived, the crisis risks disrupting the support provided by the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD). The impact of this crisis shows that specific measures are urgently needed to protect the most vulnerable from the disease itself and also to ensure that FEAD assistance still reaches them, despite the current constraints of the crisis. In order to properly address the challenges faced by public authorities and partner organisations in the implementation of the fund during the crisis, the Commission proposes to amend the FEAD Regulation. The proposed changes are necessary so that managing authorities, partner organisations and other actors working to implement the fund can react swiftly to the urgent needs of the target groups.
With recent surveys showing that 66% of Europeans would like the EU to have more say over health-related matters, and more than a half in favour of public health becoming the EU's top priority in terms of expenditure, the EU should start playing a more active role in protecting the health of its citizens. The EESC thinks that the Commission's recent package on an EU Health Union is a step in the right direction.
Hailed as ambitious and holistic, Europe's new plan for beating cancer has met with applause from cancer organisations and civil society. Now, as the pandemic is taking a heavy toll on cancer detection and care, the plan needs to be urgently and properly implemented. So much is at stake – without decisive action, Europe may face a cancer tsunami, with the disease projected to become the leading cause of mortality in just under 15 years.
Faced with many barriers and less able to maintain social and physical distance, persons with disabilities are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 and falling severely ill as a result of the disease. However, in the EU they have not been explicitly included in priority groups for vaccination