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EU4Health: €5.1 billion in EU healthcare funding for 2021-2027


An unprecedented wave of healthcare investment

COVID-19 has amplified the weaknesses of the European health systems as well as the need for better preparedness and reinforced resilience to respond to future cross-border health threats. Against this background, it is of no surprise that the EU and national governments are keen to invest more funding than ever in the healthcare sector in the next decade.

With the adoption at the end of 2020 of the EU's 2021-2027 multi-annual budget and the extraordinary Next Generation EU stimulus package, the EU is making funds available for structural reforms of the national health systems, for increasing healthcare accessibility and for encouraging cross-border cooperation between the 27 EU Member States.

The money will be channelled both at country level and through centrally managed programmes in Brussels, open for all EU Member States.

Ranging from infrastructure (new hospitals, medical equipment) to innovation and digitalisation of healthcare and training for medical staff, in-country investments will be possible using resources under the Recovery and Resilience Facility and Cohesion Funds. The planning of these funds is now on-going in the EU capitals and intermediary figures point at unprecedented budgets allocated to the healthcare sector: Italy – €18 billion, France – €6 billion, Poland and Romania – around €7 billion each.

At EU level, Horizon Europe, EU4Health or Digital Europe funding programmes will complement this favourable investment landscape with funds that will be invested in innovative health technologies, digital solutions for the medical sector and exchanges of best practices.

EU4Health in pole position

The new EU health programme was adopted and entered into force at the end of March 2021.

EU4Health seeks to foster more coordination between EU Member States, more capacity and added value at EU level and more investment.

With an allocation of over €5 billion, the EU4Health 2021-2027 budget is indeed more than 12 times higher compared to the previous EU healthcare programme, spanning 2014-2020.

The programme is open to all EU Member States as well as EFTA / EEA, acceding countries, candidate countries and potential candidates, ENI and third countries.

The funds are disbursed in Brussels in the form of grants (60%-80% EU co-financing rate; 100% for direct grants), procurement and prizes based on work programmes discussed and agreed between the European Commission and the 27 Member States. 

A look into the (near) future

While the 2021 annual programme is expected to be published this May, the first calls for proposals will most likely kick-off in the third quarter of the year. A new EU agency – the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA) – will be in charge of disbursing the funds.

The main priorities that will be funded in 2021 are:

  • crisis preparedness
  • disease prevention
  • health systems
  • digitalisation
  • the fight against cancer

For more on EU funding for healthcare, get in touch with our Healthcare and Pharma Sector team. 

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