Joint Expression of Concern About the Co-funding Model for Delivery of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan 

Whilst enthusiasm in the cancer community for Europe's Beating Cancer Plan remains high, concern has been growing about the viability of its main implementation funding stream, EU4Health. This programme typically requires organisations interested in leading or contributing to implementation actions to find 20%-40% of the costs incurred themselves.

The below letter, signed by a wide variety of impacted organisations, from across Europe, sets out these concerns in more detail, and refers to potential avenues for redress. It is submitted and published in constructive spirit and in anticipation that progress may be achieved on the matters raised without undue delay, not for the benefit of the signatory organisations but for the successful implementation of Europe's Beating Cancer Plan.

Dear Commissioner Kyriakides

We, the undersigned organisations, write to both thank you for your ongoing energetic leadership of the EU’s ambitious cancer policy agenda, but also to raise with you a strongly felt level of concern at a weakness in its implementation strategy. That vulnerability to delivery is the co-funding model presently mandated via the EU4Health funding programme. 

As you will be aware, EU4Health co-funding typically provides consortia and organisations successful in being awarded actions with 60% of eligible costs. The remaining 40% of costs is not provided. In exceptional circumstances 80% of funding can be provided if consortia are sufficiently geographically broad in their makeup. 

We understand this is an historic requirement dating back to the very first inception of an EU health funding programme when its more modest remit included funding for the organisation of events or operational grants to Non Governmental Organisations acting in support of EU health goals. 

However, we must express to the Commission the grave difficulties now coming to light associated to the use of this co-funding model when applied to the delivery of significant, large-scale and occasionally high-risk projects such as those that form the foundation of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. This is particularly becoming evident now that large numbers of such calls for proposals have been issued, and as the funding scale of these calls grows. The larger the call the greater the funding gap for prospective consortia to fill. We also understand that a level of capacity for principal pan-European actors, such as the organisations represented in the signature list below, is close to being reached. There are limits to how much financial liability for EU project delivery non governmental organisations can sensibly take on, especially in light of the uncertain funding scenarios many have faced as a result of the Covid pandemic. 

Our communication is therefore sent in the most constructive of spirits. Each organisation represented in our signature list wishes most earnestly for the demonstrable success of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. However, this success cannot be achieved if the full funding for its ambition is not in existence and delivery partners are unable to come forward. The co-funding weakness of the EU4Health funding tool poses existential risk to the entire plan’s implementation achievement. 

We therefore request resolution of the issue be prioritised accordingly. We suggest this matter be brought to the attention of member states for discussion. Long term resolution would be achieved by amendment to the EU4Health constituting legislation to permit 100% funding for high priority projects. Interim term solutions would appear likely to exist as well, including in how aspects of the legislation might be interpreted and understood, or creating facility for top-up funding for key projects to be attained from other sources. 

We would like to have rapid further dialogue with you and your officials on these points. We consider this especially urgent in the context of a forthcoming wave of new funding calls to be issued as part of the EU4Health 2023 Work Programme.  

We look forward to constructive engagement on the matters described above and to prompt finding of solutions. The inducement for solution is clear. We cannot let the success of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan be compromised by out-of-date requirements from historic legislation. Pragmatism combined with urgency can resolve these issues if we act promptly. 

Thank you in advance for your engagement on these matters. 

Please view all endorsements and signatories below and contact us here if you wish to be part of this effort.

endorsing 23 dec 1 REV REV

endorsing 23 dec 2

co funding banner 3 Jan 2023

endorsing 23 dec 4