Although the previous European Commission, under the mandate of Juncker, made clear that the Health Programme would be absorbed by other programmes into the enlarged “European Social Fund”, COVID-19 has changed that perspective. And it is key nurse researchers prepare for this new way of thinking.

The long-term budget of the EU is being redrafted due to COVID-19, including what the EU executive officials call a “standalone health programme”. Now the EU Executive is finally arguing for more power to be able to act during health emergencies, in contrast to prior COVID-19, where health risked being taken off of the European Commission political commitments. The Commission now would argue that “experience from the ongoing crisis has demonstrated that the EU would benefit from an ambitious stand-alone Health Programme that is fit-for-purpose”. And it is the 3 last words that are key for nurses and nursing: fit-for-purpose! Nursing Research is key to contribute to the EU Health Research Programme. The ‘new health programme’ would focus on improving health conditions across all EU Member States through better prevention, access, and treatment.

At the same time all these are occurring, a group of four Members of the European Parliament, namely Maria Manuel Leitão Marques, Maria Da Graça Carvalho, Chrysoula Zacharapoulou and Alexandra Geese, are calling for the EU institutions to have greater powers managing the COVID-19 outbreak and the need for creating a European Health Data Space. A European Health Data Space would enable the pooling of health data from EU citizens in a defined and standardised manner.