MEPs and respiratory health experts voice concern over budget cuts to lung health and warn of knock-on effects

MEPs and respiratory health experts voice concern over budget cuts to lung health and warn of knock-on effects - article image

22 February, 2024

MEPs and respiratory health experts have voiced their concern over the recent EU Commission decision to divert €1bn from Europe’s largest health programme.

The concerns were raised at the launch event of the #KeepBreathing campaign, organised by the European Lung Health Group (ELHG), an informal group of 179 patient and healthcare professional associations, including the European Respiratory Society (ERS) and European Lung Foundation.

The EU4Health programme provides €5 million for chronic respiratory diseases – accounting for 0.01 percent of the overall €5.3 billion budget. This is despite 87 million Europeans currently living with a lung disease and respiratory illnesses costing the EU €422 billion annually – demonstrating a clear disparity between the problem and action.

The ELHG event marked the launch of the new publication: “#KeepBreathing: A vision for EU action on lung health 2024-2029”. The publication lays out an immediate action plan to improve lung health across three areas – prevention, care and research for a healthier, stronger and more resilient society in Europe. With this document, the ELHG calls on the European Commission to step up action on lung health by adopting a holistic approach and by increasing its ambition through more investment, research and action.

Dr Eva Polverino, Director of Scientific Relations with the EU at ERS, presented the latest statistic on lung health in Europe. She said: “The respiratory health burden in Europe is larger than ever and it is expected to increase with the ageing of the population and the effects of climate change on health.

“It does not make sense to reduce spending for lung health at EU level in key areas. This must change if we want to make an impact on respiratory health of the European population. Without research we cannot expect a better future.”

The ELHG also published a press release following the MEP Lung Health Group online event which highlights key messages from MEPs Tomislav Sokol, Radka Maxová and Stelios Kympouropoulos, as well as representatives of European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA) and the European Respiratory Society (ERS), who took part in the discussion, bringing the patients and healthcare professionals’ perspective.

About Breathe Vision

Breathe Vision is a collective initiative driven by European level patient groups and healthcare professionals that have come together in a European Lung Health Group (ELHG). The group is an informal group of nine European level patients and healthcare professionals’ organisations gathering 179 member associations across 34 European countries, including nine from non-EU states.

Our mission centres around bringing together know-how to support our organisations in empowering patients with lung diseases, improving early diagnosis, optimising multidisciplinary care, progressing quality of life, and research. At the European level, we reinforce the messages of our organisations to strive for better care, increased patient participation and improved prevention. Learn more at