EuroHealthNet discusses health and social aspects of the EU Semester with European Commission

EuroHealthNet has initiated discussions with two of the most important Cabinets in the European Commission concerning how improving health and social equity can contribute to EU priorities and national needs.

Managing Director Caroline Costongs and Policy Director Clive Needle met with Ms Raquel Lucas of the Cabinet for Vice President Dombrovskis, together with Ms Paula Duarte Gaspar from the Cabinet of Health Commissioner Andriukaitis. EuroHealthNet was pleased to inform the Commission of its work in relevant activities and to raise topical issues, such as the recent roadmap on tackling long term unemployment and the statement on sustainable health systems. The discussions focussed on the importance of improving wellbeing in meeting the goals of the EU economic and social targets; on the work of EuroHealthNet in the context of the EU Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) Programme; and how work being done in states and regions can be enhanced.

Caroline Costongs felt that the exchanges had been exceptionally useful: ‘’We are encouraged to see the close co-operation between the Vice President, responsible at the most senior level for economic development and governance across Europe, and the Cabinets with whom we usually work most directly, for health, social and research responsibilities. We were pleased with a very constructive discussion about the important role of EuroHealthNet with national and regional partners acting on the ground in states to connect better with agreed needs and priorities, such as national reform programmes. We are re-assured that tackling inequities remains a mutual priority.  There was agreement and most useful practical discussion about the ways in which we can be involved, for example in our country work, with the EU Social Protection Committee and in bringing our evidence into policy and practice. There are many problems and much needs to be done, but we are confident we are working in the right directions – this is ‘’health for all EU policies’’ in practice.’’

The discussion was an important part of a continuing process of links and exchanges in Brussels with the Commission and other EU institutions, which will be followed up, including in a stakeholder meeting with Employment & Social Commissioner Thyssen and with Commissioner Andriukaitis in October.