January, 27, 2021
Recover, Reinvest, Reinvent: EHP 6th Edition Hosts First Plenary
27 January 2021 – The European Health Parliament (EHP) and its partners welcomed the latest cohort for the first EHP6 Plenary session, ‘Recover, Reinvest, Reinvent: Shaping a European Health Union’. A diverse mix of 60 young professionals, from across EU Member States, joined the virtual session to elect EHP leaders and discuss the agenda for the 2021 programme.
The plenary began with the introduction of EHP’s new peer-elected President, Seán Byrne, Policy Advisor for the American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union. In his new role of President, Seán will oversee EHP programme events and act as a figurehead for the current cohort. Outlining his vision for EHP6, Seán told his fellow participants, “my main ambition for this year is to build on the profile that healthcare has gained in 2020. We need to seize on this momentum and listen to the people around us, not in healthcare, because addressing their needs and fears is what evolves into strong policies”.
Michele Calabrò, Policy Adviser at the European Patients’ Forum and EHP alumnus, began the series of expert presentations. He brought patient needs to the forefront of EHP6 and emphasized the importance of the motto ‘nothing about us, without us’. More than ever, there is an additional level of scrutiny in health policy at European and national levels; as such Michele asked delegates to focus on fostering an environment where patients and citizens are at the heart of decision making and they and have greater trust in health policymakers.
Karolína Lískovcová, EU Youth Lead Delegate to G7 in 2020, spoke of her own experiences as a young patient. She put forward the idea that EHP6 should not only create policies for young people but also include the perspectives of young people directly in policy recommendations. Karolína called on EHP6 participants to focus on physical and mental health issues affecting the youth of today. “Adolescent health is something that has been omitted and we, as young leaders, have a responsibility to put forward.”
Céline Charveriat, Executive Director of the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) closed the debate with a thought-provoking presentation on the links between wellbeing, mental health and the environment. “It’s a really good moment to influence the debate to show that building a green care economy is a key element to the competitiveness of the EU economy. Without protection of the human capital and natural capital, there cannot be long-term sustainable prosperity.”
After the experts’ interventions, the committees had a dedicated session during which, they managed to make significant progress in their policy recommendations and they also elected their chairs and vice chairs.
Following this interactive and inspiring session, the EHP6 committees are now embarking on their work to tackle key health policy issues: Telemedicine and Patient-centred Care; European Heath Data Co-operation; Resilient Supply Chains; Health and the Green Transition; and Healthy Economies.