Instead of changing their narrative back and forth, it would be good if they could finally make their position clear once and for all on this revolutionary programme and on ensuring quality healthcare in the long term.
For example, a Fidesz MEP, Tamás Deutsch has previously called the concept of the European Health Union “a walking European-style screw-up”, while another Fidesz MEP, Edina Tóth, said she did not think that the minimum quality requirements in healthcare that I have proposed under the programme are needed. In fact, when I sent a formal request to the Secretary of State for Health to implement the programme as widely as possible, I received a primarily dismissive response from the government, some arrogant text defending the sanctity of national competences.
In contrast, at today's meeting of the European Affairs Committee of the National Assembly, the members of the committee are discussing a government proposal on suggestions pertaining to the establishment of a European Health Union. In this draft parliamentary resolution, the Hungarian legislature would state that they welcome the Brussels proposals to establish a European Health Union (in particular, the strengthening of EU health agencies) and that they consider it necessary to draw lessons from the COVID pandemic at EU level. The draft resolution also states the need to promote stronger coordination at EU level, while stressing that there is no need for "harmonisation of health care among the Member States." The latter, however, means that Fidesz believes it is right for a European citizen living in a Western European country to receive better quality care than a Hungarian citizen and that it is also OK for someone in Hungary to be three times more likely to get a hospital-acquired infection than in Germany.
The concept of the European Health Union is not just about tackling COVID, but about correcting the extreme disparities and quality of public health care in the Member States. Those who want EU standard and high-quality care in Hungarian healthcare also support the development of quality standards. The Hungarian Government therefore, for the time being, just waffles regarding this issue and obstructs the overall and long-term sustainable improvement of the quality of healthcare.
dr István Ujhelyi
Member of the EP Committee on Public Health
One of the initiators of the European Health Union programme
Budapest/Brussels - 18.10.2021.