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Deal on European Health Data Space will boost cross-border healthcare and innovation, while safeguarding patients’ rights


15 Mar 2024


Health & Consumers

Last night, the European Parliament and the EU Council reached a provisional agreement on the new European Health Data Space (EHDS).

The legislation, proposed by the European Commission in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, will make cross-border healthcare easier for patients and doctors, while at the same time promoting research and innovation in health policy. A common health-data space will be a precious tool to better monitor and fight against future pandemics. 

Moreover, in tough negotiations with the member states in the EU Council, the S&Ds successfully safeguarded individual privacy by guaranteeing the patient's right to opt-out of sharing their sensitive health data for research purposes – a red line for the S&D Group.

Sara Cerdas, S&D negotiator for the European Parliament’s environment, public health and food safety committee, said:

“One more step towards a true European Health Union: we found an agreement for the European Health Data Space! This pioneering regulation will be a truly ground breaking opportunity for better accessibility, efficiency, and quality of healthcare provision, while at the same time uplifting scientific medical research, public health surveillance, and policy making. Importantly, it empowers patients with true control and choice over their electronic health data, all underpinned by robust guarantees of trust and security. This is not just a step forward; it's a leap towards transformative healthcare innovation.”

Petar Vitanov, S&D negotiator for the European Parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said:

“These were difficult negotiations. The Parliament had to make many concessions, as the member states were intransigent about any changes to their healthcare systems. I am proud that we stood our ground and secured people’s control over their health data, while ensuring also the possibility for data to be made available, under strict conditions, for purposes of important public interest.”

The agreement reached needs to be confirmed through the final adoption by the European Parliament and the EU Council.