“The COVID-19 crisis presents Europe with a challenge of historic proportions. The EU and its Member States have had to adopt emergency measures to preserve the health of the citizens and prevent a collapse of the economy. We are slowly exiting the acute health crisis. While utmost vigilance is still required on the sanitary situation, the emphasis is now shifting to mit-igating the socio- economic damage.” From the conclusions of the EU Council on the 21st July 2020, it has been clear that the EU4Health plan announced by the European Commission at the end of May was significantly reduced as part of this current plan. On the other hand, Member States could still improve their national health systems by using funds from the European Stability Mechanisms, which are immediately available. According to a recent report by an Italian think tank, the spending cuts undertaken by Italy in the health sector from 2010 and 2019 amounted to €37 billion. This sum is roughly equal to the amount of ESM funds that Italy could use (2% of GDP). A crucial aspect in using these funds is to avoid wastefulness. Healthcare public procurement has already shown signs of weakness in this regard during the emergency phase in Italy, according to a recent inquiry by the Italian anti-corruption authority.
De Leverano, Adriano (2020), Post COVID EU Recovery: Is There Room to Invest in Healthcare?, ZEW expert brief No. 20-14, Mannheim. Download