EU Elections 2024: Shaping the future of health policy and startups

June 13, 2024

European voters have spoken in these 2024 elections, bringing about a significant yet nuanced shift in the political landscape of the European Union. While the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) has gained the most seats, and the Greens having declined in their representation, the overall composition of the new EP remains relatively similar, suggesting a continuation of existing legislative trends to the previous term.

For startups, including those in the healthtech sector, these election results are pivotal. Since startups are at the forefront of economic recovery, job creation and a more sustainable future, they embody the entrepreneurial spirit that Europe needs to foster to thrive in the global market. Under the new mandate, we hope to see a potential for improving policies aimed at strengthening the Digital Single Market and boosting investments in research and development. As harmonising regulations can also promote interoperability of innovative tech solutions, making it easier for startups to scale up their operations across the EU, we continue to advocate for these policies, as outlined in our EU Elections Manifesto and Digital Health Manifesto.


Health policy as a priority

Health policy should remain as a critical focus of the new European Parliament’s agenda. The re-election of several important figures of last mandates’ health legislations, particularly those that had taken part in the European Health Data Space (EHDS) and the Pharma Package, ensures continuity in advancing critical health initiatives. By adding a dedicated committee on health, the EP’s ability to address and advance health-related issues would also significantly enhance. 

During the 2019-2024 mandate, the establishment of a European Health Union played a vital role in navigating many challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, shaping significant policy advancements, including but not limited to the EHDS, the Medical Device Regulation (MDR) and the Health Technology Assessment (HTA). Europe’s health budget, EU4Health, reached its highest number with 5.3 billion euros. We anticipate that the new mandate will make significant strides in prioritising the establishment of a European Digital Health Union, aligning its policies with the recent AI Act and GDPR compliances. 


What to look out for in the upcoming months? 

Little is known regarding what the next five years will look like, however, this new mandate can introduce both opportunities and challenges for healthtech startups. Therefore, the startup ecosystem shall keep an eye on:

  • The HTA, coming into full force in January 2025;
  • Potential adjustments to the EU4Health budget after its recent cut;
  • And the appointment of the next Commissioner for Health, who will play a pivotal role in navigating market competition and innovation within the health sector. 

Support for digital innovation will continue to be on the political agenda, particularly for the development and deployment of health technologies in telemedicine, electronic health records, and of course – the use of artificial intelligence. Additionally, the push for cross-border healthcare services and forming public-private partnerships continues to be enforced, simplifying market entry and scale-up for startups.

However, digital health startups must be prepared for potential risks, such as navigating the complex regulatory environment and securing sustainable funding. Staying agile and informed will be key to capitalising on the opportunities presented.


Looking forward

As the EU transitions onto this new mandate, healthtech startups must remain vigilant and proactive. By staying informed about policy developments, securing funding, and navigating regulatory landscapes effectively, startups can leverage the opportunities presented by the evolving European healthcare ecosystem. However, it is crucial to recognise that Europe currently faces challenges in maintaining competitiveness across various industries, including digital health. To truly lead in global innovation, the EU must address these gaps and foster an environment where cutting-edge solutions can thrive. The future holds promise for those ready to innovate and adapt in response to the changing political and economic environment.