EESC opinion: Health for Growth Programme

Key points

The Committee:

  • welcomes the Commission's initiative: the existence of this third programme, in this period of crisis, is a positive message to the people of Europe;
  • welcomes the focus on a limited number of priorities and the increase in the ceiling for subsidies for Member States whose gross national income per inhabitant is less than 90% of the Union average;
  • shares the view that efforts should be made to improve the use of human and financial resources and warns against the temptation to cut budgets and public health services during this period of crisis;
  • considers that, where health is concerned, European added value consists of encouraging exchanges of best practice and disseminating the principles of mainstreaming health in all policies and combating health inequalities, poverty and social exclusion;
  • stresses the importance of prevention for maintaining a healthy population;
  • argues that, as there is a general shortage of labour in this sector, common solutions need to be sought;
  • considers it preferable to train the unemployed in these vocations rather than bringing in already trained workers from third countries and other EU countries;
  • stresses the need to give families and the community (friends, neighbours, etc.) the means to look after sick and dependent people;
  • encourages exchanges of experience in the use of online health systems;
  • considers that, in addition to the existing priorities of smoking, alcohol, obesity and HIV, new risks should be added, related to climate change, the safety of medicines and protheses, changing ways of life and eating habits and mental health problems.