After COVID-19, EU Treaty reform must pave the way for a

Health Union

Key points:

  • The COVID pandemic has changed Europe irreversibly. The pandemic was yet another illustration that Europe can only respond to cross-border challenges if it stands together.
  • The Conference on the Future of Europe recommended an EU Treaty reform to make “health and healthcare” a shared competence between the EU and its Member States. EU institutions and the Member States must now make good on this clear, concrete demand for a stronger EU on health.
  • The attached policy paper written  by three JEFers offers detailed reflections on the necessary Treaty reforms to achieve a European Health Union.


COVID-19 has caused immeasurable suffering for humanity. Within Europe and across the whole world, the pandemic has meant loss of life, and confined citizens to their homes. Though life in Europe is steadily returning to normal, the world is not what it was before COVID.

The pandemic has once again proved that countries cannot address cross-border crises in isolation. Throughout the worst depths of the pandemic, the EU had to struggle with its limited legal possibilities to act on health. Thanks to a common will to act together, Europeans managed to adopt a genuinely common response to the health crisis, despite some important shortcomings in coordination.

Nonetheless, the lesson learnt from COVID-19 is clear: the current Treaty framework constrains European action on health, and is not fit for purpose. During the Conference on the Future of Europe, citizens voiced an unequivocal demand: the EU must be given a shared competence in health and healthcare, acting alongside the Member States.

Since the beginning of the Conference, JEF has advocated for concrete follow-up for the Conference. The European Parliament is currently leading the task by drafting its proposals for EU Treaty reform. Among other improvements, the new Treaty must pave the way for a true European Health Union.

JEF stands ready to voice ideas on how to make the Health Union a reality. The attached policy paper written  by three JEFers, Juuso Järviniemi (JEF-Europe Vice-President), Robert Scholz (JEF-Germany member) and Kalojan Hoffmeister (JEF-Europe Federal Committee member), provides detailed reflections on the necessary Treaty reforms in the field of health.

JEF-Europe’s positions on the necessary European response to the COVID-19 pandemic are detailed in the resolution, “For a coordinated EU response to tackle the COVID-19 health emergency”, adopted by the Federal Committee on 5 April 2020.


Contact information

Juuso Järviniemi
Vice President
Young European Federalists
Rue d’Arlon 53, 1040 Brussels

Read the paper here