Zovko: “With the upcoming vote on the EU4Health program, the European Parliament will take big step to improve our health sectors across the EU.”
Brussels 5 March 2020
The Members of the European Parliament will convene next week in Brussels for the monthly plenary session. Members will start the week by marking International Women’s Day. The agenda further includes votes on legislative files such as the new InvestEU program for strategic and innovative investments, and the € 5.1 billion EU4Health program, which aims to make the health systems of the EU Member States more resilient to future crises. In addition, debates will be held on the situation in Georgia and Syria, new EU fisheries rules, the completion of the geo-blocking process and ways to address the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic through investment, competitiveness and skills.
At the celebration of International Women’s Day, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Arden, will address the European Parliament with a video message on the topic of women’s leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic. Member of the European Parliament Željana Zovko worked actively on the issues of equality between men and women and the representation of women in politics and decision-making processes. As the EPP shadow rapporteur, she particularly focused on gender equality in the foreign and security policy of the European Union. “In this field, women are still under-represented. Although it has been proven that women’s contribution to conflict resolution has led to longer-lasting peace agreements and improved human security,” Zovko said. She also pointed out that with the recently launched Gender Action Plan III, the European Union recognizes these challenges and proposes an ambitious plan to promote women’s engagement in the EU’s external actions.
As part of its response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the European Union developed the EU4Health program. With a budget of € 5.1 billion, the program will contribute where the EU can add value, such as tackling cross-border health threats and infectious diseases, making medicines and medical devices more accessible. As co-chair of the MEP Lung Health Group, Zovko expressed satisfaction that the EU4Health program will finance efforts for the prevention and early diagnosis of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. “By evaluating our crisis response of the past year, we can develop long-term strategies, better monitoring and actions to enhance prevention and treatment of covid-related and non-covid-related health problems,” Zovko stated.
During the foreign policy discussions, Members will hold a debate with the High Representative and Vice-President of the Commission, Josep Borrell on the Syrian conflict, ten years after the uprising and on the political developments in Georgia. In addition, Zovko will also take the floor during the debate on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo in light of the recent tragic murder of Italian Ambassador Luca Attanasio and his colleagues. During her recent intervention in the Foreign Affairs Committee, Zovko stressed the importance of the World Food Programme and the challenging circumstances under which it operates. She also called for greater security measures for staff working in the affected areas. “This unfortunate tragedy raised awareness of the security situation in the region and it has shown us once again that there cannot be any development without security,” Zovko concluded.