“The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the uneven distribution of medical professionals in the EU. We see that in some regions of Eastern Europe, health systems have had a problem not so much with the shortage of medicines and equipment, but with nurses and doctors. The main reason is the migration of health professionals to Western European countries, which deprives Eastern European countries of qualified personnel, for the development of which solid resources have been invested from their budgets. That is why I am convinced that the EU must take measures to regulate the transfer of medical professionals from Eastern to Western Europe in order to prevent some regions from being left without adequate access to health services. “This was stated by the Bulgarian MEP from GERB / EPP Eva Maydell to German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a meeting of the EPP Group in the European Parliament on 8 July 2020 in Brussels.
In response, Merkel agreed that the problem is very big, pointing out that even between the regions of the former East and West Germany there is competition for medical staff and a tendency for those in the eastern cities to fall short. The German Chancellor added that incentives are needed to retain medical professionals and that any measures at European level should not run counter to the principle of free movement of people.
“Competition is a major driver of economic growth, but when it comes to key social systems such as healthcare, European countries must first and foremost be partners. Measures such as temporary quotas for health professionals per capita or the removal of certain investments in health systems from the government deficit account could be considered in order to stimulate the improvement of the sector and the desire of specialists to develop in their home countries. Easier procedures for attracting medical staff from third countries should also be considered, “said Eva Maydell, who is a member of the European Parliament’s committees on industry, research and energy, as well as on economic and monetary affairs.
Merkel presented to MEPs the program of the German presidency of the Council of the EU, which began in early July. Key priorities are negotiating the EU’s recovery plan with Covid-19, reaching a consensus on the Union’s long-term budget for 2021-2027, combating climate change and strengthening Europe’s global responsibility.