On 5 December, the European Commission approved the 2024 EU4Health annual work programme, a significant step in realizing key priorities within the European Health Union. With a substantial budget of €752.4 million, the program aims to foster development and allocate funds to address crucial health-related challenges across the European Union.
The funding will play a pivotal role in enhancing the EU's crisis preparedness through the European Health Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA), equipping it to tackle various challenges, including those arising from Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine. Additionally, the budget will facilitate the implementation of vital digital initiatives such as the European Health Data Space (EHDS), which seeks to leverage digital health data for improved healthcare outcomes for EU citizens.
The 2024 budget is also earmarked to strengthen the EU's resilience against cross-border health threats, contribute to the realization of the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe, and advance Europe's Beating Cancer Plan. Special emphasis will be placed on supporting emerging policy initiatives, with a focus on mental health, global health, and developments in medicinal products.
Recognizing the essential role played by civil organizations in implementing EU health policies, the EU4Health program will maintain operating grants of €9 million in 2024. Furthermore, a call for Framework Partnership Agreements for the period 2025 to 2026 will be issued, underscoring the commitment to involving civil society in shaping health initiatives.
The adoption of the work programme follows a positive opinion from Member States in the EU4Health Programme Committee on November 28. Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, emphasized the significance of this milestone, stating that it signifies a substantial stride toward a more robust European Health Union. The Commissioner highlighted the commitment to health resilience, the advancement of the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe, and the fulfillment of Europe's Beating Cancer Plan. She also acknowledged the critical role of civil society in engaging citizens, as reflected in the continuation of operating grants and the forthcoming call for framework partnership agreements. The funding will not only drive progress in mental health, global health, and digital health but also underscores a collective dedication to a healthier and more resilient EU.