The Spanish Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, in favor of the European Health Union

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed the lack of coordination in health matters in the different EU countries. Hence, the creation of a European Health Union is increasingly necessary to end the current crisis and be better prepared for the future. The European socialists have organized a virtual debate which has been attended by different political figures such as the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen or the Spanish Minister of Health, Salvador Illa. Euronews has interviewed some of the participants.

“The pandemic does not affect all of Spain in the same way, so we are adjusting the measures according to the degree of virulence in each region. We are evaluating and analyzing long before relaxing the restrictions,” says Salvador Illa, Spanish Minister of Health.

Euronews: In Sweden, you have carried out a different strategy than the other 26 member states. They did not impose a quarantine and it does not seem that this has helped them much …

“You are wrong to show that white or black image of Sweden. I repeat it again, we imposed many restrictions and prohibitions so that people had to change their daily lives extremely, even if there was no confinement as such,” says Lena Hallengren, Minister of Swedish healthcare

“With the powers we currently have, we can go a long way on the issue. It is essential that all citizens of the union have the same rights to high-quality healthcare at an affordable price. Unfortunately, we have seen that this is not always the case. Often the most vulnerable have more problems accessing medicines or certain treatments. The people most affected by the pandemic are those, on the one hand, those with fewer resources, and on the other, the elderly “, explains Iratxe García, a socialist MEP. Spanish of the S&D group.

What would it mean for the citizens of the European Union to be part of a European Health Union?

“Healthcare is a very important national competence. I, as the Swedish Minister for Health, have to remember that healthcare is central to our welfare system but of course we have to cooperate to ensure that we have the added value what it means to be part of the EU. I think the question of how we are treating the vaccine is a very good example, “says Lena Hallengren, Swedish Minister of Health.

His Spanish counterpart, Salvador Illa, adds: “A health union would achieve better coordination between European member states to fight the next pandemics, and greater investment in health systems throughout Europe, as well as better preparedness. to face the future. This issue of the Health Union is one of the key aspects of the welfare state, a very important project for the EU. “