In response to the statement signed by more than 80 MEPs calling for continued EU engagement in healthcare, President Juncker says he is convinced that the European Union can provide high-level added value support in the field of health.

I fully share your view that European Union added value action on health and cooperation between Member States to address common challenges contributes to the sustainable development of our Union. Our intention with the White Paper on the future of Europe is to encourage debate, including in this area, among stakeholders and citizens.

In his letter, President Juncker points out to the ongoing work and planned health initiatives of the European Commission. However, he also anticipates some challenges in pursuing EU action in the field of health, arguing that health is a shared competence between the EU and the Member States:

The European Union can clearly help Member States address the challenge of increased calls on health services and more complex technological choices at a time of intense pressure on public finances. At the same time, its action in this respect is framed by a limited Treaty mandate stipulating that national health policy and the management of health services are the responsibility of Member States.

The public health community including PACT will therefore need to put much effort in demonstrating the added value of health collaboration at EU level during next year’s discussion over the future of the EU and the related Multi-Annual Financial Framework.

The official letter is available here.