The EU has approved its public health programme for 2014-2020, which focuses mainly on reducing health inequalities and encouraging innovation in the sector.
The objectives of the health budget programme also include increasing the sustainability of healthcare systems and protecting EU citizens from serious cross-border health threats.
The agreement was announced by the Lithuanian EU Council Presidency, after negotiations were concluded with the European Parliament and Commission on Wednesday (13 November).
Lithuanian Minister of Health Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis said the essential elements were the creation of sustainable health systems, considering innovation in the health sector as investment, implementing the principle "health in all policies".
"I can not imagine a successful operation of the EU without a sincere focus on health care," the minister said. "Healthy citizens add value, and we need to look especially responsibly to the fight against addictions and serious diseases."
Ministers confirmed that the budget for health would be €449.4 million in the multi-annual financial framework (MFF) for 2014-2020.
The Lithuanian presidency said that grants may be awarded to fund actions "having a clear union added value", co-financed by the competent authorities of the member states responsible for health.
Grants can also be given to participating third countries or by public sector bodies and non-governmental bodies, acting individually or as a network, when mandated by those competent authorities.
The Lithuanian presidency said it focused its efforts mainly on solving the procedure for adoption of the annual work programmes and higher co-financing of joint actions for member states with gross national income per inhabitant less than 90% of the average in the EU.