THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS:
- calls for the health sector to contribute to the European Pillar of Social Rights and notes that the fight against health inequalities is a major goal and an effective means of promoting health security and health systems;
- notes that the preparation and implementation of the measures to respond to the COVID-19 crisis should be done in coordination with the relevant national, regional and local authorities competent in the field of public health;
- emphasises that the EU4Health programme must not only focus on crisis management, but should contribute through the post-COVID-19 recovery steps to significantly improving the health of the EU's population, by strengthening the resilience of health systems, promoting innovation in the health sector, and including health prevention and promotion as sustainable development tools;
- recalls that the programme should organise the coordination and funding of stress tests in the Member States in order to identify weaknesses and to assess their ability to respond to pandemics;
- highlights the fact that the budget of EUR 1.7 billion, set by the European Council of 20 July 2020, will not be sufficient; The financial envelope for the period 2021-27 shall be EUR 9 370 000 000;
- insists on the need to strengthen the involvement of local and regional authorities in the governance of health systems, as well as in the definition of priorities and the implementation of the programme, due to their essential role in health, prevention and support.