European integration is Ukraine’s top and unchanging foreign policy priority. Ukraine’s accession to the European Union will not only expand our country’s foreign policy and economic opportunities, but will also allow our country to improve the quality of life of Ukrainians through the implementation of European law and best practices.
It is essential to remember that the EU is primarily an economic and political union aimed at establishing cooperation and building strong ties between the countries of the European space.
In order for Ukraine to expand its potential and adapt to the single regulatory space, we, as a country, must meet clear membership criteria, including continuing to implement EU law and reform the healthcare system in line with the best European practices.
We are faced with the task of bringing our healthcare system closer to that of the European Union, as well as modernizing and developing it as much as possible.
What are the specific benefits of the European integration process for the Ukrainian healthcare system?
FOR THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
The EU countries have come a long way in improving their healthcare systems, accumulating not only experience but also effective algorithms for addressing complex health challenges.
The EU’s top priorities in healthcare include expanding access to quality and timely medical care, fostering innovation, and optimizing the use of available resources to enhance the efficiency of the entire healthcare system. Moreover, EU countries are working on the development of a global health policy, which aims to improve the quality and longevity of the lives of European citizens and prevent the development of diseases.
For Ukraine, European integration is an opportunity not only to strengthen cooperation and integrate the best European practices and standards into the national healthcare sector but also to participate in the formation of a unified healthcare policy and medical space with the EU. Additionally, it provides an opportunity to contribute to the implementation of joint healthcare initiatives through EU-targeted programs. An example of such cooperation is the EU4Health program, which Ukraine had the opportunity to join as a candidate country in the summer of 2022. The total budget of the program for 2021-2027 is EUR 5.3 billion. So far, the European Commission has already approved Ukraine’s participation in 9 projects under this program and confirmed more than EUR 4.6 million in total funding for their implementation.
FOR MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS
In terms of healthcare education and training, European integration will allow the incorporation of European standards into medical education and expand opportunities for learning and training in EU countries. European integration will also encourage the adoption of the best international treatment protocols and innovations.
Unified regulatory rules in Ukraine and the EU will open up new opportunities for Ukrainian businesses to access European markets. Common requirements for products and services will streamline the time, financial, and human resources needed for exporting Ukrainian products to EU countries. Furthermore, a unified business environment will stimulate innovation in Ukraine. Easier access to the Ukrainian market will be granted to EU products. Unified regulatory rules will also reduce added costs to production, as they will eliminate the need for bilateral inspections and registrations.
Medical products, medicines, and laboratory research will meet European standards, ensuring their quality. In terms of public health, the adoption of European standards will lead to safer working conditions and safer production processes, particularly in the food industry and agriculture. EU norms and standards will make Ukraine a more environmentally friendly country by introducing a balance between production and the preservation of a healthy ecological space.
What is the Ministry of Health doing to bring Ukraine closer to EU accession?
Currently, as part of preparations for EU accession, the Ministry of Health is primarily focused on two tasks: implementing the provisions of the Association Agreement with the EU and completing the primary self-assessment process for the implementation of EU legislation.
In addition, the Ministry of Health, together with other ministries, is preparing negotiation teams that will participate in strengthening cooperation with relevant EU institutions and will be responsible for the negotiation procedure in terms of implementing EU healthcare requirements.
To view the presentation on the European integration priorities and tasks of the Ministry of Health, please follow the link.