European Council meeting on the second wave of the pandemic sends a disappointing signal to workers, says EPSU

EPSU Health Action week Brussels 29 October 2020

(30 October 2020 - Press Release) On 29 October, European Union government leaders met to discuss the second wave of the pandemic as it hits people across Europe. Regrettably, little attention was paid to the drastic situation faced by Europe’s medical staff. The EU government leaders persisted in their decision to cut the EU4Health programme budget from EUR 9.4 billion to EUR 1.7 bn. The European Parliament and many others have made clear that this is not sufficient to respond to pandemics, to the expectations of health workers or the people. The Council persists in forcing austerity measures for public health at a time people expect a strengthening of health and care systems and European solidarity. Thousands of health and care workers made this clear during a European Day of Action on the 29th of October.


General Secretary of the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) commented: “The Council duscission was hugely disappointing for health and social service workers. The one simple signal that government leaders could have given to show solidarity with medical workers was to increase the funding for the EU4Health programme, but they did not do it. Instead, we see more talks about testing and tracing. This should have been addressed months ago. We call on the negotiators to show their support and stick with Parliament’s proposals for the funding of EU4health”.


The European Council urged Parliament and Commission to make progress on the approval of the Recovery Fund and the long-term budget. This funding is needed to assist Member States in supporting the relaunch of the economy and safe jobs. It is Council however that is blocking progress on funding for health and a just transition, and which is refusing Parliament’s proposals for rule of law and conditionality.

For more information Pablo Sanchez 0032 (0) 474626633

For Background

The European Day of Action 29 October

The ETUC’s demands for People’s Recovery

For the press conference of European Council President Charles Michel

For more on the proposed EU4Health programme