Multiannual Financial Framework: A modern budget for a healthy Europe?
4 May 2018
The European Commission published on 2 May its proposal for the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the European Union’s budget for the seven years from 2021 to 2027. They propose an overall budget of €1279.4 billion allocated to 7 different expenditure headings and 37 spending programmes.
COCIR welcomes the European Commission’s efforts to simplify the European funding landscape, introduce more flexibility into the budget and reduce the administrative burden for beneficiaries.
What does it mean for the medical technologies and digital health sectors covered by COCIR membership?
Several spending programmes need to be emphasised. We are glad that the European Commission has recognised the strategic importance of research & innovation. The new funding programme, Horizon Europe, has been allocated €97.9 billion, a welcome increase from its predecessor Horizon 2020 (€80 billion). It will be structured around three pillars – (1) Open Science, (2) Global Challenges, and (3) Open Innovation. As outlined in our mission proposal for FP9, COCIR believes the Programme should better focus on connected care to improve quality and efficiency, while enabling precision medicine and personalised treatment.
It is an encouraging signal that the European Commission takes the digital transformation of European economy and society seriously. We hope that the newly proposed Digital Europe Programme will support the large-scale deployment of complex digital health solutions at all levels in the European Union (transnational, national, regional and local). Currently structural funds in the healthcare sector are largely spent by Member States and regions to procure ICT equipment. Funding infrastructure projects makes it easier to meet the execution path deadlines of this instrument.
The main element of the Commission’s proposal regarding the Regional Developments and Cohesion Funds is to strengthen the contribution of cohesion policy to the EU's economic governance, towards the European Semester process, and increase its added value towards better outcomes rather than costs. At the same time, the Commission’s proposal plans to cut Cohesion Funds by 7% and a total budget of €442 billion in 2018 prices. It is also planned to make cohesion funds simpler and more flexible for beneficiaries to use. While supporting the result-oriented approach, COCIR expresses its concerns about the decrease of cohesion funds, which may undermine the ability of the European Union to achieve sustainable, inclusive and competitive EU health systems in the future.
In a next step, the European Commission will publish the different proposals for these spending programmes towards the end of May and beginning of June. COCIR and its member companies are looking forward to continuing our contribution based on our expertise and experience to support the European Commission and Member States.