by Kate Boor Ellis
Alzheimer Europe, an umbrella organisation of 37 national Alzheimer’s associations from 33 European countries, supported a call made on 25 June by European health NGOs, asking the European Commission to restore operating grants in the EU4Health Programme in order to support core activities of European NGOs. The call was issued in response to the publication of the 2021-2022 EU4Health Annual Work Programme, in which the operating grant mechanism was discontinued by a unilateral decision by the European Commission’s DG SANTE, despite this mechanism having been explicitly included in the EU4Health Programme by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers during the legislative process leading to the adoption of the programme. All other Commission departments have kept operating grants in their work programmes and some have even added funding to and increased the scope of these grants.
In addition to the call issued on 25 June, Alzheimer Europe and a coalition of EU Health NGOs including the European Patients‘ Forum, the European Public Health Alliance and Eurordis – Rare Diseases Europe, launched a social media campaign on 19 July. The campaign, which can be followed and supported via the hashtag #SaveEUHealthNGOs asks DG SANTE and Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides to reconsider this worrying decision, particularly in the midst of the greatest public health crisis in living memory.
Abandoning this key funding mechanism of support to health NGOs risks seriously undermining the outstanding and pioneering work of European organisations in the field of public health.
Jean Georges, Executive Director of Alzheimer Europe, commented:
“Rather than cutting funding to EU health NGOs already impacted by the pandemic, the Commission should treat them as partners to achieve the ambitious objectives of the EU4Health programme and adequately support their activities.“